An Update on PC Debate

I have been negotiating the terms of a proposed debate/discussion about political correctness with the University of Toronto administration. However, they are concerned about the legality of my recent rejection of legislatively-imposed politically correct language, and the potential entanglement of the university. As my employer, the university is, under the same legislation, legally responsible for my speech. I suggested that they would be better occupied supporting my right to speak the words I believe to be true, as outlined in their own Statement on Freedom of Expression (1992).

They rejected that suggestion, deciding instead to take the Route of Social Justice. That sums up the state of the modern university. Those who have ears, let them hear.

See for information about the artist

See… for Jonathan Haidt’s article and video.

  • Amgine

    Can’t you just say what you want within their language guidelines? Like talking in another language, sometimes it might not translate how you want, but an intelligent human should be able to navigate something so simple. Like swearing, it’s definitely possible to emphasize a point without swearing.

    So, instead of getting all panicky about something being “politically correct”, try to think of it as just talking their language. It ain’t no thang. So, if you want “those with ears to hear”, you still have to speak their language.

  • Secret Agent

    There’s a lot of people in this forum talking about the alt right. The alt right is a fringe group.

    Remember, first the corporate media branded the alt right as racist. Then they branded everyone who is not an old school pales conservative as alt right. Then they branded everyone who is tending right as racist. Finally they branded everyone who is not sufficiently enthusiastic about Cultural Marxism as a right wing extremist.

    Like the good doctor says; they do it an inch at a time.

    If you are like me, you were born and raised as a liberal, but see that the left has been taken over by radical extremists who silence their opponents with accusations of racism and, more amazingly, are anti labor and pro war and anti liberty.

    Incredibly, this fake left has the full support of the political establishment, which is also anti labor and pro war and anti liberty.

    So you have to think, the fake left are in fact the useful idiots of Oligarchy.

    So where do we find the anti war pro labor opposition? Why, it’s reemerged on the right and that’s why populist leaders like Trump have massive blue collar support.

    Remember, people are not stupid and they know when they are being cheated.

    They will rally to the banner that they see as best representing their interests.

    At this point in time that banner is on the moderate right and that’s where a lot of redpilled liberals are rallying.

    Most importantly, this is not about shared ideaology. This is about shared interests. We call ourselves classical liberals. It’s a label it’s hard for the fake left to attack.

    Our society has undergone an incredible inversion. Everything is now the opposite of what it should be.

    You must not be afraid to take a side. The spectre of tyranny is upon us.

    Stand for that old conservative catch phrase. Stand for liberty.

    And if you really want to annoy the fake left, rediscover your Christian roots and it’s importance to western civilisation.

    • Chisato Kenni

      Capitalism and indifference to poverty and neediness isn’t fringe though. People go without what they need all the time and few are rich with most being poor. Why is that swept aside in favor of this gender language shit? You think right wingers don’t slander and accuse people of things? Sick, elderly, disabled and poor people do worse under conservative policies. Yet that’s not worth criticizing apparently. Even Margaret Thatcher is being held in high regard just for criticizing feminism, despite that her influence fucked over countless men.

  • Liam

    In reply to your video, I have made you a rare Jordan B Pepeson.

  • Ryan

    Hi Dr. Peterson, I would like to express a pledge of support and solidarity. I will personally assist you (financially and vocally) in whatever way I can if your noble actions lead to prosecution (fine or loss of employment).

  • Pingback: Yes, political correctness is an attack on free speech - The Yorker()

  • Matthew

    Sounds like a pretty reasonable situation, to be quite honest. So long as you’re speaking in your role as an employee, it’s to be expected that your employer expects you to abide by the basic academic expectation of keeping your personal opinions separate from your role as a professional.

    Of course, it would be an entirely different story if you were representing a point of view with a formal academic basis behind it. Perhaps, dare I say, a relevant paper grounded in something other than politics or alcoholism?

    Of course, that would entail the risk of exposing oneself to the data which has led those within fields of medicine and psychology who deal with human sexual behaviour and identity in the well-known direction they’ve been heading for some time now, but I’m confident you can weather it. After all, the right to freely exchange such information is exactly the thing you’ve been fighting for!

    That all said, I must admit to a fair bit of disappointment with your ongoing refusal to address one of the major criticisms aimed at your claims that the whole Bill C-16 proposition “risks criminalizing discussion about aspects of human sexual behaviour and identity that we need to discuss”.
    Specifically the criticism that, were the criminalization of discussion on the basis of protections granted by the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code indeed a possibility, why haven’t discussions regarding sex, sexual orientation, race, marital status, creed, age, colour, disability, and political or religious belief also suffered this same criminalization?

    At the end of the day, does your own work on both political and religious ideology not stand testament to the fact that the implementation of such constraints is not a realistic outcome?

    Is the reality that you and I are both perfectly capable of publicly proclaiming that homosexuality is a choice, that women should be subservient to men, that the young should obey the old without question, that people with disabilities contribute less to society than those without, that abortion is inherently evil, that dark skin is an expression of god’s scorn, or any number of other similarly controversy provoking declarations, all free of reprisal or interdiction from the Canadian government, not evidence that the claims you have made are not supported by fact?

    If not, I’d love nothing more than to hear why.

    The University has no control over what you say outside the campus, which makes it all the more saddening that seems to be when you’re least willing to engage in discussion and debate.

    • Rand Rowlands

      Hi Matthew. I’ve been tuning in and tuning out of the comments here and on other sites so may have missed some relevant bits of the discussion. Please also forgive me if I cover ground already well covered. There’s only so much time in the day to catch up.

      Let me venture some thoughts on the employee/employer issue however. Historically, academics have resisted the normal strictures of an employee-employer relationship, let alone as public employees in the Canadian context. Given the degree to which government money intervenes in the Canadian economy, including in the form of grants and loans to private businesses, we are all pretty much “public employees” unless we run a corner store.

      Human rights legislation is generally intended to ensure that all individuals receive equal services from public servants. Personal views are not valid reasons to refuse service. If, on the other hand, a person whose “lifestyle” I did not agree with sought private religious services from me, human rights legislation does not require me to provide said service if it violates my religion.

      Let me now state that seeking religious services from me is a bad idea in the first place. I am only working on that whole water to wine alchemy because I’m cheap. Furthermore, while there are people in whose presence I am less comfortable – yes I’m looking at you with the Sith lord facial implants – I recognize that that is on me not you.

      So here we have Dr. Peterson, a “public servant”, who has not (to my knowledge) refused to provide teaching to trans students nor refused to work with qualified trans students in a research lab. He has questioned the science behind “gender” which as you point out is something other researchers should have plenty of data about to refute but is not my area of expertise so I’ll leave it to them.

      He has also stated his intent to refuse to use certain words outlined in the legislation while performing his duties. You seem to suggest that as an employee he has no choice but in many, many cases an employee not only has a choice to speak up they are legally required to do so. A nurse’s first duty is to their patients and the profession they serve, NOT to the hospital they work for.

      Within the academy, there is a critical need for academics to voice their opinions. You may not recall the civil rights fights of the 1960’s but I do. Leaders came from many areas including academic institutions to demand equal rights. Many people risked their jobs, and paid that price or worse, so that Jim Crow laws – also passed for the “benefit of the black man” – were repealed. As great as he was, Martin Luther King had a small voice within a small community, until others outside the black community magnified his voice Only then did freedom ring. And academics, safe in their tenured positions, were at the forefront.

      This does not give an academic freedom to engage in hate speech. That is proscribed. Prescribing words to use is a dangerous issue which should only be undertaken in extreme circumstances. I don’t think we are there yet. Had Stephen Harper been re-elected and required all employees to address their employer’s as “Lord and Master” would you support that legislation as well and call on Dr. Peterson to mouth those words? Agreeing with the intent of the legislation is different fro agreeing with the content of the legislation.

      As well, Dr. Peterson is entitled to a personal life just as are we all. It is precisely in his role as a professor that he has been called upon to use certain words; why should he use his personal time to debate his job requirements? A transsexual person is not a meme. They are not required to be on display 24/7. They are also entitled to their personal lives and to destress over a glass of Merlot. Why should not Dr. Peterson?

      So finally, here is my personal opinion (not that you asked): The legislation is dumb and bad but most likely benign 29 times out of 30 – as you point out, not criminal. Fundamentally though, one cannot legislate basic human decency. Assuming my deformed facial fusiform area and weak name synapses recall your name and face, it is no skin off my nose if I happen to recall the pronoun you prefer me to use And if I slip up on your name or pronoun, it is not intentional, so a little tolerance on your side is also requested, expected, and probably will be provided without my asking. (You here being obviously the generic you and not the personal you).

      It’s what humans do. We are social creatures. We provide some slack in the system of social interaction. The legislation is unnecessary and sets a dangerous precedent, but is unlikely to affect my day to day life, also as a public servant, by the way.

      The good thing is all this fuss raised my awareness of the issue. Maybe that is the best thing about this whole tempest in the teapot.

      Thanks for sharing your views and listening to mine.

  • Iain Perkins

    Good man, I hope that you can manage to get reason to overcome the fear and hate of the regressive left that use us in the LGBT grouping- as mouthpieces- the so called LGBTQ community.

    • Chisato Kenni

      The right wing are indifferent to disabled, sick and poor people going without. Where I live welfare and healthcare are being under funded.

  • SunFlower Knight

    “Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb, too. The imagination and spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology. Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes…. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations…. Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.”

    — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Chapter 4, p. 173

  • Rob Sciuk

    My letter to the National Post (just sent) …

    Dear Sir/Madame,

    Far from being a “jerk”, Professor Jordan Peterson’s argument is correct in every dimension except the political one. Unfortunately, today the “political” truth seems to be the sole domain of those Marxist progressives who have
    infiltrated and subverted our education system, our Universities, the media, and Provincial and Federal governments. Worse, this type of thinking has been adopted wholesale by unquestioning millenial hipsters who have suckled at
    the withered teat of a bankrupt morality since birth.

    One might argue that pronouns are simply words, and cannot make such a difference to our culture, but when one remembers the words of Walter Duranty as he schilled for Stalin saying “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few
    eggs”. Those words made flippant reference to the wholesale slaughter of millions, and were used to justify the act as “class warfare”. The crime of the victims was merely to have the ability to question the new “political
    correctness” on its merit, and thus become ersatz enemies of the state. Of course, that is not the way that history is taught these days, is it?.

    Gender identification has been complicated by those few who are unhappy with their assigned genitalia, and I cannot begin to fathom what a burden such a dissatisfaction must bring. Still, I respect the plight of those so afflicted
    to take whatever action they need to, including psychiatric treatments, surgical and chemical re-assignment or whatever they need to become happy, but not to re-invent biology and evolution and most certainly not to subvert the
    proper discourse and exchange of ideas.

    We have two sexes, and that’s all life on this planet has ever required. Pick one, whichever one you like best, and stick with it, or change every week I could care less. Just leave Dr. Peterson alone, he has the right to free
    expression, and if you choose to listen politely, instead of trying to shout him down, you just might learn something useful.


    Robert S. Sciuk
    Wellesley, ON.

  • Eric

    I have been following your struggle on behalf of free speech. Just want you to know that you have my complete support in this. Thank you so much for standing up to those bullies.

  • Mason

    Dr. Peterson, please offer some means to contribute to your brave and articulate expression of truths by the way of financial donations to I suspect, many of us, sadly too cowardly to speak out as freely as you do, but wish to support you to expose the madness we now observe in society first hand, threatening our future.

  • Pam

    this describes you, imhv.

    If Frog is your Animal Totem;

    “You are a great listener and advice giver. You know how to relate to others and always know exactly what to say. You have genuine empathy towards others and always do your best to provide healing for those around you by allowing them to release old negative energy onto you in order to help them cleanse and renew their lives.”

  • Sar

    While I too applaud your standing against dictatorial silliness, my thoughts went a different way. Why do we have so many honorifics? Why do we need to identify someone is married, not married, male, female in society? Given such an open society what value is there in being called Mrs. vs Miss vs MS or Mr, vs Master etc etc?

    Rather, why not come up with an honorific that can be used with every human being? Why would we want to break society up into even smaller cohorts than is already done? Is it perhaps so that there is then even more groups (cohorts) that others can be prejudiced against? Except in medical situations is it necessary in a public sphere to identify what gender a person is? Does it make a difference to whether the person can do the job or interface effectively with others?

    So, what about avoiding all this and coming up with ONE honorific for everyone, or perhaps throwing them out altogether. I’m not great at this, but what about using ‘Per’ for Person, Dr. for those people who have worked for and attained them. (Isn’t it interesting that the honorific Dr (medical or otherwise) is not gender specific).

  • b

    I applaud your stand against this absurdity in the name of common sense and free speech . Stand fast brother !

  • Mathew Cloin

    Professor Peterson, I was wondering if a reference to the law known as Lèse-majestĂ© would be of interest to you regarding your upcoming debate. Lèse-majestĂ© or “injured majesty” is still a thing in my country where you break the law of Lèse-majestĂ© when not respectfully addressing our majesty. Bill C-16 seems to introduce such practices but not for majesty, instead for people who are following this authoritarian ideology.
    Thank you very much.
    Mathew Cloin

  • Verbal Rosa

    You have the opportunity to coin a phrase. Your argument is about free speech but is also about a phenomenon which exists and has yet to be named in the popular culture. I’m talking about “forced speech.”

    Forcing a person to speak against their will, removing their right to remain silent, and their right to choose their own words. Frame your debate around the idea of “forced speech” and you will expose what is really going on in society today.

    Silence is golden.

  • Katharine Moores

    Had some wonderful teachers, and hats off to them. Alas, too many were like the individual who “debated” you on The Agenda, or they remained silent as anti-scientific falsehood was being taught to young minds. If I’d had more Profs like you I would NEVER have dropped out of Guelph. You are one impressive scholar and Canadian, Sir.
    I had one Prof. at Guelph rather like you and am still grateful to him for teaching me HOW, not WHAT, to think.

  • Scott Bradford

    I am a professor of economics on leave in India. I just want to let you know that I salute you and support your stand again silly infringements of free speech. Living in the land of Gandhi reminds me of the power that comes from moral resistance of tyrannical impulses. I, too, will never, ever submit to such ridiculous efforts to control free speech. I am rooting for you and your efforts to enlighten.

  • Azima

    I am beginning to believe that your talents are wasted at UofT at this point if they are truly unwilling to take a stand for free speech and open discourse.

    The administrations capitulation in the face of this… legislative breach of our rights is simply unacceptable.

    Not to mention the ongoing character assassination these SJW’s are engaging in! It’s truly a sickening and pathetic state of affairs when one can be labeled a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, a nazi and who knows what else solely for resisting legal coercion to adopt and speak imaginary pronouns at the insistence of delusional and outright hostile strangers.

    I don’t know your financial situation, and I’m sure you likely have some sentimental ties to your position at the university, but if you can successfully transition entirely to the internet as an educator it would seem wise to do so even if you aren’t forced out of your position, and having observed the general trend – You likely will be.

    Your lectures are much more inspiring, intellectually and emotionally, than virtually all the others I’ve seen in my life.

    If through the web you would be permitted greater freedom in the creation and delivery of said lectures, and if you can reach more people, in my opinion it would be a crime not to take such an opportunity.

    I have watched for years as these insane authoritarians have agitated to bend society to their will, they will sacrifice upon the altar of social justice our rights, freedoms, and even the notion of reality itself, ultimately, to that end if that’s what it takes for their aims to be achieved.

    Every moment this is allowed to go on we move another step closer to an entirely dissociative, hyperreal conception of the world and the further we move from a world informed by our senses and affirmed, challenged and expanded upon by our faculties for higher reasoning and transcendent intuition.

    I admire both your ability to recognize the threat these people pose, and your willingness to stand against it.

    There are dialectical forces at play and you have been swept up in them, hopefully it will turn out well for you.

    Glory unto Kek.

    • Edward Bear

      ‘Kek’? Christ, /pol is leaking again.

      • coyote

        the Ancient Frog God of Chaos from Ancient Egypt- miraculously returned to return the age of Kali Yuga. Unbelievably – the professor has FROG TOTEM. Jungian synchronicity everywhere we look. Ask his native American friends how the Gods have come to speak through our brave warriors today!

  • Prof Peterson, consider adding to the imperfect U of T debate plan, an additional public Deep Democracy session facilitated by process-oriented psychologist Arnold Mindell. Since he does a kind of group conflict resolution using a Jungian inspired framework, I think fruitful and unexpected things may emerge. Maybe it’s too weird – or maybe not weird enough!


    Good thoughts to you!

  • Richard

    Kermit the Frog. Everybody loves Kermit: little children, grown-ass adults, and all those up the middle and in-between. May I be so bold to say Kermit brings horsepower to the game. Kermit: Good Mojo !

    • I love that he’s included Kermit as the display picture for this blog page 🙂

  • un passant


    First of all, thank you for have the courage to stand for free speech even in the face of extraordinary pressure (i.e. direct threat on your ability to continue your work as a university professor !).
    I understand that in order to gather the strength to face the bureaucratic oppression, you rely on your own core values and beliefs which shape the way your perceive and frame this issue. Hence you framing it as a Marxism versus Truth issue.
    However, I am afraid that such framing is not only erroneous but also misguided with regard to the “Marxism” term.
    Erroneous because I think that the kind of bureaucratic oppression you are facing is more of a “stalinist” kind than “marxist”. Of course, one could make the point that marxism leads to stalinism but this point is controversial and the distinction still stands.
    Misguided because you will face extraordinary resistance if you decide to fight against “social justice”.

    Being very much interested in you winning this battle, I beg you to pick the right fight if not the most exhilarating according to your own political values.

    Please refocus on freedom of speech —and thoughts ! as speech is shared thoughts— and truth. Karl Kraus already noted that the rise of corrupt politics (nazism in his time) was paved
    by corrupting the language. And language is indeed corrupted when one can be charged for (hateful, even !) discrimination for refusing to discriminate more than is customary (i.e. in two categories related to sex) with regard to identities !

    Also, I understand that it is a natural urge to fight back as you are verbally attacked by some queer/trans/… students. However, I urge you to treat them as the misguided kids that they are instead of the political opponents that they would like to be.
    As a Professor, it is your duty to frame it not as your right to free speech versus their “right” to be adressed to in the way that they deem appropriate.
    These kids are trying to figure out who they are, who they can be, and how they can be respected (loved even). Those people should have an understanding of the (crucial !) importance of consent (I would say enthousiasm!) with regard to sexual relationships. Surely they can understand that enthousiasm or consent or coercion can also dramatically shape other human interactions !

    Because these laws will breed immense ressentment from the people to be coerced toward the people they claim to protect.

    So I urge you to refrain from framing your resistance as a fight versus “social justice” and “social justice warriors” but more as a fight for truth than will defuse coercion-bred agressivity that would benefit no one.

    Best regards.

    PS: I found the Prof Kyle Kirkup of Law at University of Ottawa to be extremely disingenuous during the TV show. First for only refering to previous cases
    when the topic was the impact of the new C-16. Second for trying to downplay the consequences for reusing to comply to a mere fine. This is not how law works and he should know it.
    Of course you would not risk more than a fine if you were to commit one offense, but refusing to comply will get you in jail for contempt of court :

    Just a side note : currently reading “Pathological altusim” [Oakley et al.] and “Self-addiction and Self-righteousness” David Brin DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738571.003.0062 seems especially relevant.

  • Jeremy

    Dr. Peterson,

    As details of the debate emerge, will you be posting them to your blog? If the debate is open to the public would love to attend.


  • Vanessa

    Rooting for you Dr. Peterson.

  • Demiyan Smirnov

    beginning of the video aligns with synchronicities that recently happened on the alt-right. S H A D I L A Y Professor Peterson.

    • Doug

      I’m no fan of the alt-right but I do have to say, the eventual conversation between Milo and Professor Peterson that seems bound to happen eventually will break the internet with how well spoken and articulate it will be.

      • truemuse

        Here’s another frog synchronicity: Its a racial slur. I notice this debate doesn’t have much traction in Quebec though its a federal law Peterson is challenging.

      • Edward Bear

        I somehow doubt that Milo character will still be around by then. The alt-right following isn’t large enough to keep him running for much longer.

        • coyote

          you are sadly mistaken: Hillary has brought us to the light, and KEK the god of chaos will upend all our current stalinist globalist nightmare.