Canada’s Jordan Peterson Is Ordered To Undergo Reeducation in a Wake-Up Call for Friends of Freedom

The towering psychologist is threatened with losing his license if he fails to undertake training in what he can say.

Detail of image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
Jordan Peterson in 2018. Detail of image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons CC2.0

The Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has become the perfect model for the threat of totalitarian mind and speech control. The College of Psychologists of Ontario has ordered Mr. Peterson to undertake social media training to retain his clinical license — and the right to call himself a psychologist.

The college took issue with several social media posts Mr. Peterson made, which the college deemed inappropriate. One would think his Ph.D in psychology and decades of teaching at Harvard and several Canadian institutions would trump a few tweets. 

The scenario is worthy of George Orwell’s “1984,” Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” or the collective writing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. When Mr. Peterson challenged the brainwashing order, though, it was upheld by three Ontario Court judges.

Mr. Peterson has a huge worldwide following of people (mostly younger people looking for meaning and rules to live by). His books have been best sellers. His speeches have been sold out. His podcast has a huge audience. His television documentaries are shared widely.

However, Mr. Peterson has two flaws according to the totalitarian left. First, he is a genuine conservative in the classical 19th century sense. He tests and challenges all the passions and emotions of the new left’s commitment to social engineering. 

Second, he is outspoken and effective. His candor guarantees that he will run afoul of the thought police. The Peterson case is a warning for Americans in a variety of sobering ways.

It demonstrates that a mainstay Western democracy can drift steadily into left-wing radicalism. (The Canadian commitment to euthanasia and assisted suicide is a startling rejection of virtually every religion’s commitment to life.) 

Canadians have now granted power to government to control virtually every aspect of their lives, including what they say in public. If you don’t use the right pronouns, proclaim the correct position on racial or gender issues, embrace the pseudo-science on the climate, then you are a bad, dangerous person. In the new Canadian thought dictatorship, freedom of expression can’t be tolerated.

This pattern is also emerging in Europe. People are being jailed for reading from wrong parts of the Bible (which includes strongly anti-homosexual passages). This is the pattern emerging on American college campuses. People can be ostracized and fired for saying or writing the wrong things.

This disease is spreading to the American military. It has already led to significant internal conflicts and departures. Conservative servicemembers are unwilling to keep their mouths shut and say things they believe are patently false.

I am surprised that the Peterson case has not led to a much greater outcry. I was introduced to his work by a brilliant young researcher at Gingrich 360. She felt that he had a profound impact on her and her friends.

Then Mr. Peterson asked me to join him on his podcast. It was an amazing two and a half hour long chat that ranged widely. At the end of our talk, it was clear to me Mr. Peterson was smart, thoughtful, and widely read.

When the podcast was released, I heard from an amazing range of people who listened to it. Liberal Democrats, conservatives, and non-political folks were interested in the ideas we shared. It was clear that Mr. Peterson had developed a broad following of people who liked to think — and liked to stretch their minds. 

The danger of punishing people for their ideas is always with us. About 24 centuries ago (399 B.C.) the great philosopher Socrates faced a one-day trial for lacking piety and getting young people to think outside the existing dogma. 

The following day, Socrates was forced to renounce his teachings or drink poison. He chose the latter. The boldest philosopher of his time, teacher of Plato, and founder of an entire school of thought was killed by the state because he made it uncomfortable.

The coercive brainwashing of Mr. Peterson is a warning. The elites of our time are becoming as oppressive and dangerous as any in the Greek golden age. The persecution of Mr. Peterson should be a wake-up call for everyone who cherishes freedom.

The New York Sun

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