Sunday, March 25, 2018

Jordan Peterson Is Driving His Critics to Desperate Attacks

From the American Thinker:
Jordan Peterson, the Canadian clinical psychologist, is having an enormous impact on our culture. His refusal to use legally mandated language has reverberated around the world. He is obviously rattling leftists as they continue to make hysterical claims about him. 
The most recent and long-winded example comes from Nathan J. Robinson, the editor of Current Affairs. He published an almost twelve-thousand-word essay in that journal. It's hard to believe, but even with all those words he lands not a single blow on Peterson. He does manage to make a complete fool of himself. 
His essay begins by listing an impressive group of people, including the head of Harvard's Psychology Department, who praise Peterson's work. He then sets out to try to prove them all wrong. He also lists a large number of writers who have treated Peterson unfairly. He then supersedes them all. 
There is no way to cover all the silliness in this piece, but I can explain a few of the problems in it. If you think I'm making this stuff up, by all means, read the whole messy, wordy essay. Robinson has a long windup. 
There are many long paragraphs with snide remarks and hand-crafted editing designed to make Peterson look vague. The man is anything but vague. 
Finally, we arrive at the first factual disagreement with Peterson. In the famous interview with Cathy Newman, Jordan said that you now have more female than male doctors, and the trend in that direction is accelerating. Robinson tells us there are not more female than male physicians either in the U.S. or Canada. (In context, you can hear the rim shot.) 
It's worth dwelling on this supposed killer line. Peterson was in England being interviewed by Newman. His English interviewer is pelting him with questions about the lack of female executives in England. Jordan explained that women are often drawn to alternative professions. For example, you, in England, have more female doctors than male. That's what he said, and he is correct. 
Don't take my word or his. Invest thirty minutes to watch a truly intelligent and, under the circumstances, gracious person at work in that half-hour interview. While it's worth noting that trends in the medical profession in North America are moving in the English direction, the current ratios are not germane to the conversation Jordan and Ms. Newman had about England. 
It is fair to ask: was Robinson trying to slip one by, like a Clintonian lawyer, or is he just sloppy in his thinking? I think it's a combination of both in roughly equal measure. He, like many of his peers on the left, is half-cocked. That phrase will come in handy later. 
The original basis for Peterson's worldwide notoriety is his objection to being compelled to use legally mandated language. This is a huge step beyond the current Canadian laws, which prohibit and criminalize certain speech. 
Robinson denies that the law does any such thing and that it's crazy to think speech would be criminalized. The link he provides looks moderate enough. It's the text of the law that simply adds gender pronouns to existing hate speech law. Robinson is careful not to link to the existing law, but we easily grasp its content by noting that the amendment is to the Criminal Code. 
I'm not a lawyer, so instead of the legal text, here is Wikipedia on that criminal code. Peterson is right. Again, I don't think Robinson is lying. There is a funny space that some people on the left occupy that blinds them to facts. They are just very odd people. 

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