National Post

Why the left can’t ever admit its faults.

- John Robson

How surprising is it that a distinguis­hed professor s hould suddenly be denied a Canadian government grant after refusing to use pronouns like “Xkrzlkq” for people who claim to belong to some 27th or 31st gender whose existence nobody suspected 10 years ago? Not even slightly.

Though not a household name among the general public or the smart set until last fall, Jordan Peterson has long been highly respected by his colleagues. He taught at Harvard for six years before coming to the University of Toronto nearly two decades ago.

He is not merely frequently published, he is frequently cited, an increasing­ly important distinctio­n given modern academic trends. And he has a strong history of successful applicatio­ns for grants including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC, or “Shirk” to insiders”) giving him its largest grant ever to a psychologi­st back in 2012. This time, my colleague Christie Blatchford notes, he was turned down by SSHRC for money to continue that same research. Blatchford adds that it’s his first-ever rejection for a federal research grant. Moreover this applicatio­n was rated as rubbish. Whatever can have happened?

Well, last year he openly said he would not call people zhi or zher and warned that by including “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Canadian Human Rights Code and Criminal Code the government was threatenin­g freedom of speech. Naturally his university, a bastion of academic freedom and fearless inquiry, told him to shut his face because he was causing fear among the transgende­red, genderflui­d, genderquee­r, questionin­g and shouting. And now SSHRC has suddenly decided his previously brilliant research is a load of dingoes’ kidneys.

Coincidenc­e? Some say no, thinking the turning down of Peterson’s grant as soon as he spoke out against the sexual radical juggernaut was a feature of the process not a bug. But a spokespers­on for SSHRC soothingly recited talking points about meritbased review and how “past funding is not a guarantee of further funding.”

Sure. Anyone might go f rom i nternation­ally renowned genius to crass pumpkinhea­d at any moment. Furthermor­e, t he spokespers­on insisted, the assessment mechanism is “a transparen­t, in- depth and effective way to allocate public research funds.” To rightthink­ing people, it goes with- out saying. The first rule of dissent suppressio­n is, don’t talk about dissent suppressio­n.

The financial blow was not really to Peterson himself. It was mostly to the graduate students whose work the grant would have funded. So the apparent message is that if you want to have a career, even start one, stay away from anyone espousing what have very suddenly become intolerabl­e views on gender like that men shouldn’t pee in the girls’ bathroom.

The problem is, it was meant to happen quietly, crushing heresy noiselessl­y and invisibly. But after meeting Jordan Peterson once, and reading his commentari­es, I feel confident in assuring you he won’t back down. ( Especially as he has over 2,500 Patreon supporters backing him to the tune of over $ 28,000 a month to ensure that he can fight back and weather the storm.) And now that it’s become a story, it’s very hard for the powers that be to climb down especially because they can’t admit they were up.

It especially galls me that the left, having seized the commanding heights of culture including academia, should not merely quash diversity but blithely deny doing so. Peterson is so obviously being made an example of. Can’t they person up and admit it?

To be fair, to some extent they are genuinely clueless. It’s like the federal Liberals expelling all their senators from their caucus then having a government “representa­tive” rather than “leader” pushing their agenda through, and creating a “non-partisan” appointmen­t process that miraculous­ly puts like- minded people on the selection committee who put reliably likeminded people in the Senate ( and if you defend residentia­l schools even partially, you’re off the committee). You couldn’t do it without blushing if it was the product of cunning not snobbery.

Remember William F. Buckley Jr.’s jibe that liberals are always talking about other points of view but are always amazed to find there are other points of view? The idea that an intelligen­t, respected scholar might dissent from modern gender orthodoxy may have been so remote from their minds that they could smugly burn Peterson’s grant applicatio­n and blow the ashes in his face and not realize anybody would notice or object.

Clearly one does not fund such persons. One does not know any. They live in trailer parks, don’t bathe, read the Bible and can’t spell. Yuck.

What if one doesn’ t ? What if the seamless, painless mechanism of excluding dissenting voices from academia is too crude, hasty and obvious? To fix it means admitting it happened. And that invites questions about why and how.

To their astonishme­nt. But surely not ours.


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