On Saturday, November 19 the House of Commons passed Bill C-16. The controversial bill has been highly criticized by those who oppose it on grounds that it violates an individuals right to free speech and legislates a flawed ideology into law.
The following day, University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson engaged in an open forum to debate the dangers of Bill C-16 and to stress the importance of free speech. Peterson has been at the centre of controversy since the end of September after taking a stand against political correctness. He started by making a series of YouTube videos describing what he views as “the PC game” and stating his objections to it, as well as stating his refusal to use certain gender pronouns which he sees as ideological tools being pushed by members of the radical left.
The debate, which is currently posted on YouTube, was stacked against Peterson by pitting him against two opponents and a hostile moderator. However Peterson, although visibly stressed, was able to make his points clearly and effectively. He has studied authoritarianism for decades and warns that it can accelerate very rapidly.
One of Peterson’s opponents, Dr. Mary Bryson, has faced media scrutiny herself since the debate after it came to light that she has a history of being accused of bullying her straight and bisexual students. Bryson has publicly accused Peterson of inciting hatred towards members of the trans community, an accusation that lacks any evidence and is untrue.
During the debate, Peterson directly stated one of his greatest concerns regarding the new legislation by saying:
“Let me tell you what the law does. It instantiates social constructionism into our legal system. You have to understand what that means. There’s a huge debate about how human identity is, uh, upon what grounds human identity is predicated. Now the radical social constructionists basically say that identity is nothing but a social construction, and that’s in keeping with their philosophical doctrines, partly Marxist and partly post-modern. And that is what I was objecting to with regards to Bill C-16. Because it insists, do you understand this, It makes this legal doctrine that biological sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation vary independently, and they don’t.”
It is a misconception that Peterson has an issue with the identities of transgendered people or acknowledging their existence. The bulk majority of feedback that Peterson has received from transgender people over the last six weeks has been positive and expressing support for him. The activists currently attacking him and his reputation are not representative of the transgendered community at large. They are pushing a far left ideology on behalf of a group of people who do not necessarily agree with its position.
Later that day hundreds of protesters gathered outside of City Hall for a symbolic protest against U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump. Present at the rally were supporters of Green Peace and The Communist Part of Canada, and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many of the protesters held signs with slogans such as “Say No To Fascism!” and “Love Trump’s Hate”. Ironically, while protesting what they view as fascism and the evils of the male patriarchy, they simultaneously promoted the political narratives advanced by an equally dangerous ideology known as Cultural Marxism. Many young white college students were present, enthusiastically handing out pamphlets on communism to anyone interested in their “fight for equality”. Given that communism is an ideology responsible for the deaths of at least 80 million people, their stance against oppression seems very hypocritical. Although many of these young communists are empathetic and well intentioned, they are unfortunately ignorant to the historical realities of communism. How can so many people be educated and yet not understand their own adopted ideology? And how can they be so confused on basic issues related to fundamental aspects of freedom?
The answer is that university campuses across North America have essentially become indoctrination centres for the radical left. There is very little diversity of political opinion among faculty on present day campuses, and this is especially true for the social sciences. The result is that university students are being subtly indoctrinated with culturally Marxist ideologies without even knowing it. Many of them are not even familiar with the term “Cultural Marxism”.
What Is Cultural Marxism?
Cultural Marxism may be the greatest cultural threat the West has ever known. It traces it’s North American roots to the Frankfurt School, which is a school of social theory and philosophy born out of traditional Marxism that focuses on culture and maintains that all human behavior is a result of culture, and thus malleable. Cultural Marxists produced what is today known as “critical theory” and society’s current trend towards what sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning have dubbed “victimhood culture”.
Cultural Marxism responsible for pushing race and gender identity politics, maintains that biological gender is a misconception, advocates for speech codes and an ever expanding government, and serves as a weapon for many political groups wishing to advance their own agendas. This is why groups like the LGTBQ community and Black Lives Matter have formed an alliance – they are operating under the logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. It is the same logic at work when progressives who support radical feminism also defend traditional Islam.
Cultural Marxism is particularly appealing to young people, especially those who are very empathetic and possess a high degree of trait agreeableness. However, it’s long term consequences are negative and contribute to the deterioration of Western society. It values equality over freedom, and equates all success with oppression and exploitation. Wherever cultural Marxists find an area of human endeavor with an unequal distribution of workers in terms or race or gender (which is all areas of human endeavour, since peoples natural inclinations and free will create inequality) they immediately view it through the lens of “the oppressor” and “the oppressed”. Most important to understand about the current wave of political correctness is that is it, as Jordan Peterson has correctly identified, literally an algorithm designed to never end. Cultural Marxists will not be appeased until every fundamental institution of Western society is dismantled, but what they hope to replace it with is an impossible Utopia.
It is crucial to understand that political correctness and Cultural Marxism expand very slowly in small increments. It is essential that those of us who value freedom and Western society take a stand against it now, because the radical left understand how to slowly push their agenda on society. Jordan Peterson has identified one aspect of the PC algorithm and describes it as such:
Identify a human activity.
Note a distribution of success: identify loser and winners.
Claim the losers are only losing because they’re being constantly oppressed by the winners. No concrete evidence of this oppression needs to exist, the differential distribution of outcomes among groups itself is assumed to be irrefutable evidence.
Proclaim institutions must intervene to punish the winners and reward the losers.
Feel secure in your Marxist comprehension of the world.
Revel in your sense of moral superiority as you target constant moral indignation at the winners
Repeat, forever, everywhere.
Donald Trump is not a Nazi and he does not represent fascism. Even if he did however, condemning one tyrannical and oppressive ideology while championing another ideology with an even greater history of atrocity is pure hypocrisy. Conservatives, classical liberals, libertarians and genuine anarchists all understand that true freedom means understanding that you are responsible for yourself and that each individual has a right to have their own opinions and the right to express them in nonviolent ways. One of the progressive activists that confronted Professor Peterson at the first U of T free speech rally proudly declared themselves an anarchist while speaking to Peterson. The irony that they were arguing for government mandated speech codes as they did this was lost on them. This activist was among a group of people who brought speakers and blared white noise at a peaceful group of diverse students who had simply gathered for a discussion on the importance of free speech. In that instance, fascism had arrived and the social justice warriors brought it with them.
This lack of understanding of what freedom means reveals the fundamental hypocrisy of the modern social justice warrior. You cannot be an anarchist while simultaneously seeking to use big government to control the language and thoughts of others.
To be opposed to oppression and remain philosophically consistent, one should not be advocating for bigger government or legalized speech codes. These ideas are antithetical to the idea of freedom. If one truly values freedom, one must oppose authoritarian on the left, as well as the right. It is the responsibility of all those who truly value freedom for us to raise hell when totalitarianism begins to rise, regardless of where it comes from.
Radical left narratives are built on an appeal to compassion, which unfortunately often casts those who oppose them in such a way that makes them seem unempathetic or lacking compassion. Despite this, those of us who are awake and informed about what is happening in our society have a moral responsibility to speak the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be. Authoritarianism can come from either side of the political spectrum. Ultimately, whatever one’s personal values and principles may be, if they are not based in truth they will ultimately lead to a place that is not good. Perhaps Peterson himself offers the best reason to speak the truth, even when it is out of fashion:
“Here is a religious truth: life is suffering. It’s the fundamental Buddhist dictum. The Jews know all about it. The Christians know all about it. That’s why the crucifix is the central symbol. Life is suffering. Ok, so fine. And that can make you resentful and can fill you with hate, and no wonder. But here’s the counter proposition. You need something to counteract the suffering of life, and what you need to counteract the suffering of life is meaning. Something that is so profound, that you say the suffering is worth it. You find that in the forth-right articulation of truth. There’s nothing more meaningful than that. Safety is not the antidote to life. Truth is the antidote to suffering.”