Anti-Jordan Peterson professor accused of abuse of power by former colleague, students
On January 7th, The Post Millennial reported that a Professor at the University of Calgary tweeted about failing students if they cited Jordan Peterson. Ted McCoy, chair of the Law and Society program at the UoC, apologized shortly after his tweet went viral, asserting that the flippant comment was “a joke” and insisting that he did “take seriously … students’ right to free expression.”
In wake of the social media fallout, sources from within the University of Calgary have come forward to The Post Millennial to assert that McCoy’s comments were anything but a joke. The identities of those who spoke out are being protected for their safety due to their proximity to McCoy.
“He absolutely was not kidding. He absolutely does penalize students for holding divergent views.” Said one source, a former professor at the University of Calgary and current professor at another institution.
“He literally tells students to not read Quillette,” the source revealed, drawing from discussions had with McCoy’s students, “He’s walked into class and expressed how disappointed he was in the amount of conservative ideas being expressed.”
The source noted that students often came to her with complaints about McCoy’s in-class political proselytizing, fearing poor grades because of their ideological differences.
“Students have just learned to shut-up and parrot whatever he wants to hear.” The source revealed that McCoy was the only professor teaching a mandatory capstone exit course required for some students’ successful degree completion in the Law and Society program.
Being the coordinator for the Law and Society program, McCoy is also responsible for hiring new faculty members. Noting that a great deal of faculty has abruptly ceased teaching in the program, the source claimed that all of the new hires have been people who “share [McCoy’s] ideological perspective” and “have no qualifications whatsoever to teach Law and Society.”
A student who took McCoy’s class corroborated the faculty member’s comments.
“I have actually told other students to not enroll in the Law and Society program because of McCoy,” he said, noting a number of distressing interactions with his former Professor.
“The first day of class, within the first fifteen minutes, he explicitly states ‘the goal of this course is to radicalize you. Before you leave University, I want to radicalize you.’” The former student, who identifies as “left-wing” politically, says McCoy immediately introduced the class to a bizarre coding system by which participation was noted for grades.
“[McCoy told students] that he will make a mark beside your name when you contribute to the class discussion. He told us he has a symbol system for if a student made an insightful comment, all the way up to ‘what you said was batshit crazy.’” The former student says the class was “immediately politicized,” with students fearing to vocalize their opinions if it contradicted McCoy’s ideological perspective.
The former student also revealed that McCoy assigned his own writings as well as books written by his Ph.D. supervisor as mandatory readings for the class, leaving students fearful to express criticism. When one student did, noting the lack of objectivity in one of the readings, McCoy berated him.
Recalling another class, the former student says that McCoy blasted Jordan Peterson to the class.
“He came into class with his head in his hands and looked upset. He was shaking his head and sighing.” When a student asked what was bothering the Professor, McCoy went on to complain about Jordan Peterson. “He said he had been reading a lot of Jordan Peterson, and said he ‘cannot believe’ how Peterson ‘thinks he knows everything.’”
After a student defended Peterson, McCoy reportedly went on a tangent.
“He said Peterson is basically espousing hate speech and he ought to be deplatformed in the strongest sense.” the former student said.
“I was distressed that a Professor would take such an obvious political stance in his teaching,” the former student said, going on to reveal he felt “unsafe” with McCoy’s control over his grade. Because of this student’s concerns about entering graduate school, he said he learned to stop challenging McCoy.
“I basically kowtowed in my papers. I would just tell him what he wanted to hear.” Going on to note that conservative students never spoke in class out of fear of angering McCoy.
Since graduating, the former student says his friends who have entered McCoy’s class have texted him for help navigating the Professor’s extreme ideology.
“[McCoy] was unequivocally one of the worst professors I’ve ever had, and it was because the class was more about politics than it was critical thinking.”
On January 9th, McCoy tweeted and quickly deleted a post suggesting he had only apologized at the advice of administration.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Dr. Ted McCoy, the Law and Society program, and Sociology department head Dr. Fiona Nelson at the University of Calgary, but have not received a response by the time of publication.
In Canada, as in many other western countries, a guarantee against being “twice put in jeopardy” is a constitutional right. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, and you have paid your debt to society, you cannot be reconvicted of the exact same crime.
Of course, this guaranteed right only applies to such crimes in the Criminal Code as murder, rape or kidnapping. For thought crimes, there are no such guarantees. When it comes to thought crimes, we have yet to discover the upward limit for the jeopardies that may be imposed.
A double-jeopardy fix seems to be in for Lynn Beyek, appointed to the Senate by Stephen Harper in 2013. From the heavily mixed Indigenous/non-Indigenous northern area of Dryden, Ontario, Sen Beyek is presently a non-affiliated senator. A Senate committee is poised to decree next week that even though Sen Beyek fulfilled the requirements of her penalty for an initial thought crime, she is deemed insufficiently … re-educated, let us say, and must, therefore, suffer further, much more punitive retribution.
It is quite possible, even probable, that Sen Beyak, removed from the Conservative caucus in early 2018, and suspended without pay from Senate duties for several months in 2019, will now be suspended again without pay for the duration of this parliament, and forced to undergo further re-education concerning her problematic beliefs.
If that happens, many of her colleagues will be glad to have this thorn in their side out of sight and out of mind for several years (barring a successful no-confidence vote in this minority government). But others—the supporters who share her convictions (and she has a few senate colleagues who do; whether they will say so publicly we’ll know in due course), as well as those who do not share her views, but do support her right to hold them —will believe a great injustice has been done.
What are Sen Beyak’s thought crimes, which used to be posted on her website, but are no longer there? Well, for one thing, she believes status Indigenous peoples should integrate fully into Canadian society. As she wrote in an open letter on Sept 1, 2017, quoted in a CBC report, “None of us are leaving, so let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share. All Canadians are then free to preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime.”
Sen Beyak expressed approval of Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 White Paper on Indigenous issues, produced in collaboration with Jean Chrétien as Indian Affairs Minister, which proposed doing away with the Indian Act and treaties and eliminating a distinct legal Indian status. Sen Beyak said she felt they “got it right.” Trudeau had proposed an end to the Indian Act, with a fair, one-time settlement for individual natives, in exchange for the financial (not historical) portion of the treaties and land claims. Sen Beyak is in agreement with Pierre Trudeau’s statement, “We could mount pressure groups across this country on many areas where there have been historic wrongs. I do not think it is the purpose of a government to right the past. It cannot re-write history. It is our purpose to be just in our time.”
Sen Beyak at this point was already in trouble for remarks in the Red Chamber considered even more heretical back in March 2017, when she criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Report for its failure of balance in its indictment of the residential school system (while conceding that there was some representation at the TRC by former residential-school students who recounted positive experiences). “I speak partly for the record, but mostly in memory of the kindly and well-intentioned men and women and their descendants—perhaps some of us here in this chamber—whose remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged for the most part,” she said.
Sen Beyek was mocked by politicians from all parties as “ignorant” and her “hate speech” was denounced by all the liberal media. She was removed from the Senate Aboriginal Peoples Committee by interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, after four years of uncontroversial service on it, and calls for her resignation filled the air.
In Sept, 2017, Sen Beyak questioned the wisdom of the government’s decision to create a second costly Indigenous ministry. The media trashed her for it, erroneously implying in one case that Sen Beyek was not aware that Indigenous peoples were citizens of Canada.
Compounding her alleged wickedness were controversial letters sent from supporters of Sen Beyek’s heterodox views, which she posted on her website, and refused to take down when ordered to be by Senate Ethics Officer (SEO) Pierre Legault. Some of the comments in them were indeed offensive – Sen Beyek called them “edgy and opinionated” – and even Sen Beyak’s defenders would say she showed poor judgment in choosing such a small hill to die on, so to speak.
One letter, for example, suggested that if only people on reserves had the work ethic of the Amish, their homes would be well-constructed and safe, their resources up to standard and their communities economically self-sustaining. The latter was considered an example of “overt racism” by a Walrus writer, who accused some of Sen Beyak’s supporters of expressing “white-supremacist sentiments.”
I find such language misleading, erroneous and quite over the top. The letter is pointing to the tragic consequences of the “learned helplessness” that is a feature of many reserves. It has been referenced time and time again by credible, sympathetic mainstream writers. The writer’s impatience with the ongoing dysfunction on these reserves may present itself in an uncomfortably blunt manner, but it most certainly does not rise to the level of hate speech. (Which doesn’t mean some of the “edgy and opinionated” letters are a good look on a senator’s tax-funded website.)
Sen Beyak is likely more naïve than a willful provocateur, but in pushing back against what she considers the sanctification of native suffering, she often shoots herself in the foot. In resisting the tendency of progressives to label everything they don’t like “racist,” she said in an interview with Legault, “In my view, there is no racism in Canada. Right now there are groups putting people into silos, trying to divide us, by saying that we have racism against violence, we have racism against Indigenous people, Ukrainian, white privilege—I find those people racist. Those who seek to divide us are the racists. The rest of us are Canadians. We all bleed the same colour, we all live together in peace and harmony. That’s the way Canada is supposed to be.”
(Most of what Sen Beyak says here is fair comment. Unfortunately, how many Canadians will get past the words “there is no racism in Canada” without a sharp intake of breath—even those who believe the most fervently in freedom of speech? It certainly doesn’t help Sen Beyak’s case that she is a born-again Christian with all the politically incorrect views that implies.)
In January 2018, Sen Beyak learned from a press release that she had been removed from the Conservative caucus. The press release states that “Senator Beyek admitted to posting racist letters on her website and refused to take them down when I asked her to.” Sen Beyak denied that any formal request had been made to remove the letters, and categorically denied that she was a racist or would ever “admit” that she was racist. Her website was frozen.
By alluding to Sen Beyak as a racist, Scheer opened the door for a senate inquiry request, which emerged four days after his press release. The Ethics Office report gathered snippets from the letters, some out of context and painted them in toto as referring to Indigenous people as “opportunistic, pampered whiners who are milking the government and exploiting the taxpayer.” None of the letters actually say that, but that is the impression given by the report.
On Feb 27, 2019 Sen Beyak was presented with the SEO’s preliminary report. Not included: letters from Indigenous women – one a chief – supporting Sen Beyak’s position, or any other of the hundreds of non-racist letters vigorously supportive of Sen Beyak’s views. Also omitted were declarations from journalists and academics who had read all the letters, and who found nothing racist in them, lauding Sen Beyak as well informed and objective on Indigenous issues.
Former Manitoba provincial court judge and journalist Brian Giesbrecht for example, wrote in an April 2019 Frontier Centre for Public Policy blog post: “As far as the posted letters, the great majority provide thoughtful comments from people who have thought long and hard about the highly complex and vexing Indigenous situation. While a few of the more awkwardly worded letters could best have been omitted, the notion that the senator’s website is teeming with hatred and racism is preposterous.” He asks and answers: “So, what is the senator’s real crime – a crime deemed so egregious that she must be humiliated, shunned, and even financially damaged and hounded out of public office? Her ‘crime’ is refusing to go along with the politically correct version of the prevailing orthodoxy pertaining to Indigenous issues.”
On April 30th the Ethics Committee presented their harshly critical report on Sen Beyek to the Senate. It concluded that by “refusing to recognize the cultural oppression imposed by the residential School System, and the discriminatory objectives of the Indian Act, Senator Beyak appears to deny a historical truth and displays conduct that ignores its racist underpinnings.”
Sen Beyak was directed to take an online course given by Indigenous Awareness Canada, entitled “201 Indigenous Certification.” The goal of the course was “to build effective and positive relationships with Indigenous people,” focusing on “racism towards Indigenous Peoples, Residential Schools, Chronology and Current realities.” Ms Beyak completed the course and received a suitable-for-framing “Indigenous Awareness” Certificate.
Next, the Senate retained the federally funded ($6,888,000 in 2019) Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) in Toronto to provide Sen Beyak with “cultural competency Training.” Interestingly their website describes their mission as one of service to Indigenous people in urban communities. It makes no mention of cultural competency training for non-Indigenous. Anyway, there were to be three “training cycles,” undertaken at Sen Beyak’s own expense, at OFIFC’s Toronto office, a four-hour drive from her home, on separate occasions in June and August.
Sen Beyak took the first of them last June 6th as planned, in a group setting. Cycles two and three were mutually arranged for Aug 26 and 27. When Sen Beyak arrived on Aug 26, she was taken to the training director’s office and told that training was no longer available to her. Sen Beyak reported their refusal to the SEO, who replied that he had no communication to that effect from the OFIFC. Repeated requests from Sen Beyek to the OFIFC for an explanation went unanswered.
Nevertheless, in Sept, 2019, Liberal Senator Peter Harder, a senior bureaucrat in previous Liberal governments, sent an email to Canadian Press columnist Joan Bryden, falsely stating that “Senator Beyek has so far refused to follow through on the Senate’s recommendations for remedial measures.” On Sept 24, Bryden perpetuated the falsehood in The Toronto Star that “Senator Beyek refused to take sensitivity training.”
On parting from the OFIFC after the first session, Sen Beyek told her sensitivity trainer, “We would have to agree to disagree.” Disagree with the only “correct” understanding of “reconciliation”? How puzzling and disconcerting this statement must have seemed to the trainer. That was probably the first and only time anyone sent in for sensitivity training had dared to state that in spite of paying respectful attention to the course material, she had not changed her mind.
It seems clear that the OFIFC felt Sen Beyek was a lost cause, and simply abandoned her as they felt she could not be re-educated. One staffer claimed Sen Beyek had made the environment “unsafe” by claiming to identify as Métis on the grounds that she has an adopted sister of Métis provenance. Sen Beyek vigorously denies she made any such claim. Under normal circumstances it would be her word against the word of the staffer. But the SEO and the media seemed to feel such a gaffe was par for the course, and bought it without interrogation. A CBC reporter wrote: “she told her instructors she was Métis because her parents had adopted an Indigenous child.” That should have been “she allegedly told her instructors…”
The knives are out for Sen Beyek—too many, I fear, for her to avoid more drawn blood.
Sen Beyek has never had a fair trial. Racism, the word at the centre of the storm, has never been formally defined or debated throughout this process. The word “reconciliation” has become a cudgel to force everyone in public life to toe the line on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to say regarding Indigenous policy. Sen Beyek may speak her mind in a more unfiltered way than we are used to these days, but is that the fault of her words, or the fact that the rest of our politicians have learned the art of self-censorship so well that it is her candour alone, rather than the content of her discourse, that startles and offends?
I couldn’t help but think of Sen Beyek’s case as a macro example of what happened to Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer in a micro way when he recently spoke out in favour of law enforcement to deal with illegal Indigenous and environment activist blockaders. He was “de-platformed” from an all-leaders’ meeting with the PM. Why? Because, Trudeau said, Scheer had “disqualified” himself in having shown a “deliberate misunderstanding of reconciliation.”
If Andrew Scheer is disqualified from attending a party leaders’ meeting with the PM because he failed to understand the meaning of reconciliation, then I guess I don’t understand the meaning of reconciliation either. And I guess millions of others don’t understand it as well, because that’s how many of us are in Andrew Scheer’s lane on the blockades.
And it may likewise be that millions of Canadians agree with Sen Beyek’s perspective on Indigenous relations with their fellow Canadians, including some Indigenous people. If the Senate is bent on humiliating Sen Beyek for her alleged failure to understand reconciliation, then what does the word really mean? Reconciliation is supposed to bring people together. Instead, every time someone who embraces a heterodox view of the word is punished for speaking his or her mind, it drives us apart.
Furthermore, it is not up to the Senate to declare that Sen Beyek does not understand “historic truths.” Nobody knows what historic truths are while they are living through them. In a hundred years, if the reserves are exactly as they are today, our grandchildren may well say that Sen Beyek had a more coherent vision of historic truth than Justin Trudeau and his white-privilege-intersectionality minions.
Meanwhile, let us stop calling the sessions Sen Beyek attended “sensitivity training” or “reconciliation” sessions. If someone directed to take them cannot attend and listen in good faith and still disagree with what he or she has heard without undergoing double jeopardy and a “disappearance” from public life, then let us call them what they are: maoist re-education sessions.
Sen Beyek is no racist, any more than Jean Chrétien and Pierre Elliott Trudeau were. She has a right to hold opinions that beat against the current of conventional assumptions. Let her colleagues debate her if they don’t like her ideas. Instead, they have invited “cancel culture” into the Senate of Canada. What a dismal piece of political theatre we are witnessing, and one more giant nail in the coffin of freedom of speech.
Working in the media for over two decades has afforded me the chance to meet many of my heroes. Some encounters lived up to expectation and others were small disasters.
Lighting up an imported stogie with Robert Lantos in his midtown home was delightful. Sitting under a cabana at the Beverly Hilton with Gary Shandling was heavenly. And sitting in the green room with the late Don Rickles in Montreal was emotionally orgasmic.
But how do I describe my exchange with Jordan Peterson?
Let me give it my best shot. Some moons ago, a friend of mine was one of Peterson’s students. She spoke of her intriguing psychology professor and promised that she would let me tag along for a morning lecture at U of T. I passed it off as a flip invite that would never come to be—but I secretly hoped I was wrong.
Sure enough, one day, as I had my face buried in paperwork at my Summerhill intern desk, my friend Sarah stopped by out of nowhere. She told me to pack up my stuff and escorted me to class with her. I should have never doubted her.
Sarah and I did a fast parallel park on Bloor Street West and sauntered over to The Arts and Sciences Building. Cue Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.” Sound the trumpets. I was in Peterson’s world.
I guess you might say Peterson was enjoying relative obscurity then, in as much as genius can ever be truly obscure. It tends to illuminate, even under the dim of low wattage bulbs. But compared to his ubiquitous fame now, he was an unknown.
The lecture hall filled quicker than a king-sized beer mug at happy hour. The empty glass of water at the podium was a prolepsis for some of Peterson’s epic rants and proliferating insights. The excitement was palpable. And so was the budding adoration for the professor at the helm.
“This guy’s lectures are dope. The best Prof in Canada. Dude’s got game” proclaimed a well-tattooed man sitting one row under me.
I took another look around as Dr. Peterson made his way to the podium. To my surprise, students were devoid of the glassy film that usually covers the eyes of hopeful graduates. Laptops were fully charged. Pens were dipped in fresh ink. Hangovers were whipped into submission by copious amounts of caffeine and adrenaline.
This was not the lecture hall culture that I remembered. This was a brave new world known as Peterson’s Playhouse. Peterson wore blue jeans with a dark cardigan and a dress shirt underneath. He was clean-shaven with an ashen pallor. He was dark under the eyes and looked quite exhausted— which as I understand it now, was insomnia’s doing.
After gathering his thoughts, Peterson started lecturing. He quickly led us into a comprehensive examination of why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, and the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (ideological identification) that result in mass killing and pathological atrocity.
Just another day at the office for Alberta’s most influential intellectual export. Midway into his 2-hour lecture, Peterson started to speak about the Holocaust and the horrors of Auschwitz. He did this as an academic adjunct to his primary supposition about belief systems.
Unexpectedly, he went into a searing psychological examination of the Nazis and the hundreds of thousands of German soldiers who were left bereft of human conscience as they dangled in the throws of ideological imposition by the Hitler regime.
Now I have attended many Holocaust remembrance events over the years. Each one, heart-rending in its own way. I have sat with survivors of the camps—each conversation sending shivers down my spine and taking me into the deepest recesses of spiritual pause.
But this was something different. Peterson struck an isolated chord.
Maybe it was the surprise of seeing a gentile Professor speaking with such passion and conviction about a topic that was so personal to me. I am not quite sure. But as Peterson’s voice cracked with raw emotion, I felt my own connection with the worst tragedy of Jewish history, grow deeper and stronger.
“We read about the Holocaust, and study it now, but we have no way to actually comprehend this kind of evil. This kind of unbridled malevolence,” Peterson said, eyes watering and body trembling.
“You don’t think it can happen again, well guess again man,” the professor exclaimed.
“Don’t underestimate the human capacity for evil. And it lives in all of us. You need to know how bad you CAN be, to commit to how good you MUST be,” said Peterson, as though it was his last breath.
I was so taken by the emotional power of the lecture that I waited 40 minutes after class to shake Peterson’s hand and thank him personally. I watched from a distance as he met his perfunctory obligations and shook hands with students.
The line moved quite slowly but I finally got to meet him.
“How can I help you, young man,” he said to me playfully.
“I just wanted to thank you, Professor, for such an amazing lecture,” I said. “As a Jewish person
I found your words about the Holocaust to be soul-stirring. I did not expect such words in a university environment,” I said nervously.
He said, “What is your aspiration? What are you hoping to do in life?”
I said, “I am a poet and aspiring writer, director, producer.”
“Well, history is in the hands of our best writers. So make us proud,” he said with a smile.
I would like to say the chat went on longer but that was it. Over before it really began. Some shlemiel came out of nowhere and nudged me to the side with an oversized Macbook. I could have sued. Diamond and Diamond could have sent me into early retirement with that one.
When I see Peterson on the big American talk shows or speaking at sold-out theatres across the world, I think back to the early lecture I attended. Was there any sign back then of the international fame that awaited him? Was he earmarked for world influence?
I don’t think anyone, including him, could have predicted the Peterson phenomenon. But I do think he was always an eminently smart and compelling character. And his proclivity to hold firm on his beliefs, and still confess deep vulnerability, was so rare.
So yeah, I think the signs were always there from the beginning.
Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has dominated the best-sellers charts in dozens of countries. Estimates say the popular self-help book has moved in excess of 3 million copies worldwide. The book has given inspiration, insight and hope to struggling folks in virtually every corner of the globe.
Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for doing so much good. I can always say, I knew you—briefly—way back when.
In recent weeks, there has been much written about Peterson’s health challenges (and near-death experience) with a dependency on and severe reaction to clonazepam, a commonly prescribed drug in the benzodiazepine family. He started taking the drug shortly after he found out his wife, Tammy, had terminal cancer.
When a prominent self-help guru loses his footing, I suppose there is a sense of irony and morbid curiosity that naturally ensues. But that does not justify kicking a guy while he’s down. Some of the remarks directed at Peterson and his family, since news of his medical condition emerged, have been downright grisly.
It’s sad that being ill and bed-ridden in Russia gave his political adversaries an opening for rancour and an opportunity to push their own twisted agendas.
But this is the world we live in.
Be that as it may—even if Peterson were to never speak publicly again, I am convinced history would remember him as a brave friend to humanity. Maybe not the kind that one expected or summoned for. But one that said what needed to be said. And one that did what needed to be done.
Gender critical feminist Meghan Murphy is being held responsible for the effects of the threats against her. CUPE Local 391, representing workers at the Vancouver Public Library, wants the library to shut down Murphy’s upcoming March 21 talk. They are concerned about the impact that the threats against Murphy and the controversy surrounding gender-critical ideas has had on library workers.
Trans activists have previously asked for Murphy’s series of #GIDYVR talks to be denied public meeting space, and they protest her everywhere she speaks. They have threatened Murphy, the VPL, and library staff. The library has not folded to these demands. But for some reason the union wants to punish the women that have been threatened, instead of those who advocate for violence against women.
It would be normal to blame the trans activists who have made the threats—but in lieu of that, they are blaming the women who have been threatened. Murphy wants to meet peacefully to discuss gender identity, as she has done countless times before. She neither courts nor advocates for violence. The union’s reasoning is that the protests put an undue burden on library employees.
In a public statement, a response to VPL’s upcoming room rental to Murphy for a March 21 talk, CUPE Local 391 states:
“The stress put on workers before, during, and after this event, has the potential for long-term damage that cannot be ignored or dismissed. Members have expressed, to the union and to management, symptoms of anxiety, fear, anger, and depression in both their professional and personal lives. These experiences raise health and safety concerns from the union for those members directly affected as well as those working alongside their struggling colleagues. The impact is also felt by the many members who have had to navigate highly emotional conversations with colleagues and the public due to the very public discussion surrounding this issue. Library patrons and community members have directly targeted our members on social media while engaging in the debate about the decision to allow the room rental. Members in the unit responsible for library communications and social media have likewise been exposed to threatening and violent language.”
In short, because #GIDYVR events draw protests, the union wants to cave to the threats of activists and deny women their right to gather peacefully. Instead of condemning those who would deny Murphy her right to rent public space, the union condemns Murphy. The woman who is persistently threatened with violence is now being blamed for those very threats.
Murphy is no stranger to attempted deplatforming. She has held events at the Vancouver Public Library before, and has been protested for it. The library was disinvited from marching in Vancouver’s Pride Parade because they have allowed her group to rent space. When Murphy speaks on panels, or at gender critical events, she is flanked by bodyguards due to persistent threats of violence against her. Murphy did not ask for this fight but she has taken it up because the alternative is the erasure of women. If our greatest institutions cannot stand up for our rights to speak freely, all hope of justice and discourse is lost. The union would rather allow the silencing of women than address the violent threats of the trans advocates.
Murphy responded on Instagram: “—the library staff union—has released an appalling statement, framing out #GIDYVR events as, essentially, a health and safety risk to workers. While indeed trans activists have threatened violence, it is not the event itself, which is a discussion of women’s rights, that is the risk. The union is pressuring the Vancouver Public Library to cancel our next event, Gidyvr Women’s spaces & Places, on account of ‘stress’ caused to union members on account of the harassment, verbal abuse, and threats they receive from trans activists. WOMEN are being blamed for threats, abuse and harassment from others, many of whom are male. We are being held accountable for the harassment, violence, and threats WE receive from abusive authoritarians. A fucking LABOUR UNION is attempting to silence feminist speech and public debate about a subject that impacts all of us because a group of fascists don’t want women to speak in their own defense. It is incredibly inappropriate, to start, for the union to speak on behalf of their members in this way, considering there are, as the VPL and CUPE are aware, numerous people on staff and in the union who support out events and right to speak. Moreover, it is unacceptable to attempt to punish and silence us for exercising our right to free expression and for standing up for women’s rights. PUSH BACK.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Murphy to find out why she thought the union would make such an appalling statement in opposition to women’s rights to freely gather. “There are a lot of people with positions of power in unions across Canada who have taken a hard stand in favour of gender identity ideology/legislation and have refused to listen to dissenters from within or without the union,” Murphy said. “The BC Federation of Labour blacklisted Vancouver Rape Relief in 2016, for example, and numerous union execs have publicly vilified and libelled me. Unions in Canada are all very connected to the NDP, as well and of course, as the NDP is essentially Canada’s Labour Party. And the NDP and fully adopted a position in favour of gender identity legislation that cannot be challenged. They have lost members and votes because of this, but continue not to listen to those of us who have long supported the party but who also have concerns about gender identity ideology and the impact on women.”
The pressure from trans activists can be fierce and uncompromising. The CUPE may think that their virtue signaling on this will lead to a diminishing of trans activist anger, but, as Murphy points out, this “will not free them from the bullying of trans activists, who apparently will accept nothing less than full capitulation.” Murphy has reason to believe that “there are people on staff/in the union who support or events and have even attended our events. So they published this statement despite knowing all union members are not on board with what they are saying.”
A labour union, an organization that has the sole purpose of upholding rights, seeks to deny the rights of others. In the face of injustice, and advocacy for the denial of women’s rights to speak, the union is caving to threats. While it is couched in concern for their members, the effect is the same as letting mob rule decide who gets access to public space and who does not. It’s shameful that the union wrote this statement, that it was approved and released. It’s unacceptable to cow to threats of violence simply because it’s the less difficult option, and it’s doubly unacceptable to blame women for those threats levelled against them.
A labour union should know this.
Jordan Peterson gave his first biblical lecture in the spring of 2017. From the beginning, he designed the lectures to educate himself, along with his listeners, in the rudiments of Western civilization.
“When I’m lecturing, I’m thinking. I’m not trying to tell you what I know for sure to be the case, because there’s lots of things that I don’t know for sure to be the case. I’m trying to make sense out of this… This is part of the process by which I’m doing that, and so I’m doing my best to think on my feet. I come prepared, but I’m trying to stay on the edge of my capacity to generate knowledge, to make this continually clear, and to get to the bottom of things.
“The idea is to see if there’s something at the bottom of this amazing civilization that we’ve managed to structure, and that I think is in peril, for a variety of reasons. Maybe, if we understand it a little bit better, we won’t be so prone just to throw the damn thing away, which I think would be a big mistake. And to throw it away because of resentment, hatred, bitterness, historical ignorance, jealousy, the desire for destruction, and all of that… I don’t want to go there. It’s a bad idea, to go there. We need to be better grounded.” – Biblical Series I
Jordan’s latest University of Toronto course had ended two weeks prior; his Patreon page boomed with new donors; the media buzzed with his hard-nosed approach to free speech detractors. He finally had the trifecta of time, capital, and platform for his deepest ideas to reach an international audience.
But in a time of internet porn, video games, and church closures, who would care about a dense, technically-worded, two-hour lecture on Adam and Eve? Explained with a fusion of evolutionary biology, behavioural psychology, a smattering of world mythology, and Jungian psychoanalysis, the lectures may have seemed suited for a stuffy university classroom, rather than a 500-seat public theatre.
In the eyes of YouTube’s censorship team, a culture apathetic to biblical stories was insurance too cheap. Perhaps sensing a threat to their radical leftist dogma, they sought to stymie Jordan’s popularity. On August 1, 2017, he was locked from his YouTube account, without explanation, as he attempted to upload a two-hour lecture on Abraham. That same day, after popular uproar and a flurry of online articles, his account was reinstated—again, without explanation.
In enforcement, such censorship has been softened by modern technology. In intent, it remains in lockstep with the raison-d’être of Thinkpol. This is hardly surprising, as the Bible depicts stories of absolute moral rights and absolute moral wrongs: ironic as it may be, these strictures are anathema to those who hold moral relativity above all else.
“God, in the Old Testament, is frequently cruel, arbitrary, demanding, and paradoxical, which is one of the things that really gives the book life. It wasn’t edited by a committee that was concerned with not offending anyone. That’s for sure.” – Biblical Series I
Apathy for the Bible could never last in a culture grown from Christian values. Jordan’s biblical lectures sold out; a fact that astonished the now-best-selling author. Moreover, the 15 lectures have been viewed 21 million times on his YouTube channel. But the strangest part was the focused silence of his live audience, and how they unfailingly filled each lecture’s final half-hour with carefully-worded existential questions.
As Jordan’s supporters well know, his psychological analysis can move from ancient Mesopotamian politics in one sentence to lobsters in the next, and then finish by tying it all to a Jean Piaget theory. But there are core messages — rules, if you will — about being that he has extracted from the Bible and colloquially explained, making those who care to listen all the wiser.
Rule 1: Never resent the structure of existence
Life is a “catastrophe from beginning to end”, suffering is the default mode of existence, and our ever-changing environment demands that we toil in order to persist. You will be betrayed, your loved ones will become terminally ill, and whatever beauty you possess will wither and be forgotten in a matter of decades. Equity is unknown to nature. To make matters worse, be resentful, ruminating on the tragedy of it all and cursing the force that made this mess.
Everyone understands these sentiments. But the most successful among us acknowledge the horror of life, along with their capacity to contribute to it, and decide to hold faith that they can improve reality. They are alive, after all. What else is there to do? Opposed to nihilism, we could say that every action alters reality and that we may as well spend our time aiming at the Good.
The dangers of resentment have been told for millennia through the hostile brothers motif. In the Cain and Abel story, Cain fails to achieve an aim. He becomes resentful towards the seemingly unfair structure of existence, while his brother, Abel, uses proper sacrifice to thrive. Abel is simultaneously the embodiment of Cain’s ideal, a glowing reminder of Cain’s failure, and a target for revenge. Fueled by resentment, Cain lashes out and murders Abel. But Cain’s ideal, abstract beyond its manifestation in Abel, lives on and judges him with a punishment too great for him to bear.
Resentment is destructive in any form, only adding to our shared plight. When it comes to alleviating suffering, it simply isn’t practical. Neither is passive nihilism (a supposedly careless and neutral state), which causes a lack of meaningful engagement in the world that is both depressing and anxiety-provoking. Depression then causes the amygdala to grow, increasing emotional sensitivity. Suffering intensifies, and thus, reason for resentment. We fragment in the absence of a unifying aim, and our subpersonalities run amok in the cracks.
Rule 2: Listen to your subpersonalities and be wary of their advice
It has been known since the ancient Greeks — and undoubtedly before — that the human psyche is comprised of a multitude of spirits, gods, or subpersonalities. As Jordan noted, “you’re a loose collection of living subpersonalities, each with its own set of motivations, perceptions, emotions, and rationales, and you have limited control over that. You’re like a plurality of internal personalities that’s loosely linked into a unity.”
Some subpersonalities manifest as raw impulses — heated anger, raw lust, arrogant rationale — while others are more subtle manipulations. A timid child, for example, can decide to enter into an “unholy alliance” with an over-dependent parent, to avoid the pains of personal development.
When such voices arise, it is of the utmost importance to hear them for what they are: forces constantly warring for supremacy. Unchecked, they can guide us down a path of resentment. As Carl Jung said, “everybody acts out a myth, but very few people know what their myth is.”
What we consider to be subpersonalities were, to the ancient Greeks, manifestations of gods, giving rise to both creative and destructive instinct. So, the next time you find yourself inexplicably drawn to a hobby, you can think of it as a divine message, delivered by Mercury, to guide you down a mythical path. The key is to listen and determine if it aids your unified aim, rather than to be blindly led.
Rule 3: Direct personal development with your worst experiences
Order and chaos. Known and unknown. Yin and yang. Darkness and light. These are dichotomies used to describe the abstract field in which we function, and the two sides of a prosperous balance. For those of us living in a democracy, order is usually well managed. The easy part. The task of delving into chaos and using our discoveries to update the order is what puts us at risk. But, uncomfortable as it may be, that is the only way to generate wealth for oneself and one’s community.
No matter the scale of the incident, our worst experiences are, intrinsically, the most instructive. That is because it is within the unknown when we are fools, novices, and most easily dissuaded by anxiety and self-doubt. If a bad experience causes retreat into bitterness and resentment, then chaos has won the battle. But if the experience gives rise to constructive analysis and tenacity, then a new tool has been forged. Superficially, defeat has been the short-term outcome: an aim missed, a pitch rejected, a relationship denied. That could be the end of it. Spiritual defeat, as well as material. But for an individual with faith in their aim, it becomes a lesson that makes them stronger. Wealth has been scavenged from the chaos.
This rule is given to us in the story of Joseph. Betrayed by his brothers, Joseph is sold into slavery, and he later becomes a prisoner in Egypt. However brutal, these experiences do not embitter him. He continues to believe in the good and never uses his misfortune as an excuse to transgress his morals. Each misfortunate strengthens him, and, as a result, his competency becomes indisputable and rewarded.
Rule 4: Have a clear aim, and make it the best conceivable aim
Knowingly or not, everyone interprets reality through an overlaying value structure. Subpersonalities can distort those values and take us down paths against our better judgement. But values can also be clarified by aiming at an ideal. In either case, values limit action, and, as such, they play a substantial role in the creation of aims.
An ideal sits at the top of our value structure, and our relationship to it can cause a great deal of positive and negative emotion. In one example, Cain could not bear to see his brother succeed where he had failed, and so, like a jealous lover, he used his brother’s flesh as a means to attack his own set of values. Immediately, Cain judged that he had become ultimately reprehensible, an inhabitant of the deepest hell, for attacking the successful embodiment of his own ideal.
The opposite of that would be to pursue the best conceivable aim and keep faith that it is worth any sacrifice. But the more ambitious an aim, the more sacrifice and faith required. To make matters more complicated, if one’s aim is merely a crude mimicking of an ideal, motivation (willingness to sacrifice) also proves difficult. Challenging as it may be, the axiom is to embody the best possible set of abstract, transcendent values, and to thereby unite heaven and earth.
“The horrors of life are, of course, that everything eats everything else, and that everything dies, and that everything’s born, and that the whole bloody place is a charnel house, and it’s a catastrophe from beginning to end. This is the vision of it being other than that.” -Biblical Series IV
To enjoy life is to have so much faith in an aim that we are excited to make the necessary sacrifices. This outweighs the default horror of existence and makes living a net positive. In other words, aiming for the highest Good makes life not only bearable, but desirable. Biologically, this maintains the health of the hippocampus and its inhibition of emotional sensitivity. At the same time, taking action against chaos causes dopaminergic activation: the suppression of anxiety and pain. These reactions may be considered an evolutionary basis for fortune favouring the bold.
Unfortunately, the transcendent alignment that comes with pursuing a worthy aim disappears when it is achieved. A vacuum follows, ready to be filled with another aim. We can think of this as having a singular, ever-transforming aim that clarifies as a result of our effort to reach it. But it also means that an ideal can never be fully realized. This could be considered a consequence of our ability to conceptualize the future, and the meaning of original sin.
Carl Jung and Friedrich Nietzsche disagreed on how to conceive a transcendent aim. Nietzsche believed that Westerners, having lost faith in Christianity, had to create their own values. Jung thought the lack of unity within the human psyche made that impossible. Instead, individuals should utilize their subpersonalities and cultural history to make a “supreme moral effort” in their lives.
Following Jung’s advice, we engage in an evolutionary process of discovering a transcendent ideal. The bible is a guide: “these [biblical] stories are trying to express what you might describe as an unchanging, transcendent reality. It’s something like what’s common across all human experience, across all time.” Along the way, cultures have represented their ideals in artistic form. That which remains can and should be used to inform our behaviour.
Rule 5: Maintain a cultural locus
Jordan highlighted the practical reason for having a cultural locus during the 2018 Munk debate: “we need something approximating a low resolution grand narrative to unite us. Otherwise we don’t have peace.”
Thousands of years ago, a cultural locus could have been as simple as an upright stone in the center of a village. Representing that shared values existed, and that their embodiment resulted in prosperity, was enough. Today, the Chartres Cathedral is one example of a cultural locus, representing, with its labyrinth and cross-shaped structure, that voluntary sacrifice leads to salvation. Another is the Pietà, representing the role of the archetypal Mother.
These works of art speak to an optimum human experience. As such, they are densely packed with information on how to embody a set of values that the creator’s culture deemed transcendent, practical, and divine.
Faith in shared values makes cultures strong and united — confident enough, for example, to start 200-year construction projects that represent the divinity of those values. But if that faith is lost, a person or culture will fragment internally and lose its peace. Cultural loci protect against that by reminding us of the value of faith, and by giving us stable measures for recalibrating our aims. From this perspective, art can be seen as a tool to stave off chaos.
We should study and maintain our traditional art and places of worship, because there is too much about the human experience for us to learn in a single lifetime. We are historical creatures, and it would be disastrous to disregard the behavioural patterns by which we arrived at our current standard of living. But relying too heavily on the lessons of the dead would be to “live on the corpse of your ancestors,” reneging the duty of cultural revivification and inviting the same kind of chaos that comes to those who live too long under parental control. Therefore, we must maintain cultural loci by combining traditional values and new discoveries, updating the loci as we clarify our conception of a transcendent ideal.