A Brief Commentary On The Jordan Peterson Controversy

A Brief Commentary On The Jordan Peterson Controversy

I stand in solidarity with Dr. Peterson and his cause—the cause of free speech and respectful debate, the cause of proper skepticism.
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Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist who formerly taught at Harvard and is now teaching at the University of Toronto, has immersed himself in a string of controversies over the past several months. He stirred up a fire storm in academia and made international headlines in Fall 2015 for refusing to call transgender students pronouns that are not he or she (e.g., xe and xir) and for his staunch opposition to Canada’s controversial Bill C-16, which would fine professors and others for “hate speech”—including the refusal to address a transgender person by his preferred pronoun.

Bill C-16 is still churning its way through the Canadian legislative process, so Dr. Peterson need not worry about punitive measures from it yet; however, his refusal to use transgender pronouns did violate the broadly interpreted and loosely worded Human Rights Code from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which could, in theory, impose punitive measures on Dr. Peterson in the future.

Dr. Peterson, who has a YouTube channel with over 194,000 subscribers, has criticized Bill C-16 and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, asserting that “hate speech” is a subset of free speech and thus any law prohibiting “hate speech” imposes an unfair restriction on free speech. He also notes that there is currently no standard nomenclature regarding transgender pronouns, meaning that they can categorized and subcategorized ad infinitum, making any laws regarding transgender pronouns ineffective, contradictory, and cumbersome.

A brief thought experiment illustrates Dr. Peterson’s point. If we are to respect transgender pronouns, and if we are to agree that refusing to use a trans person’s preferred pronoun is “hate speech” and qualifies as harassment and discrimination, the argument must logically extend to all possible cases to be valid, which reaches beyond gender (any external factor) and refers to the act of refusing any pronoun for any reason.

This is where trouble accumulates, because—technically—it would be discriminatory to refuse to correctly name the rebellious U of M student, Grant Strobel, who changed his preferred pronoun to “His Majesty.” If the law applies to xe and xir and hir and mer, it must equally apply to His Majesty, Her Majesty, slr, ver, and shlur (the last four pronouns I created for the sake of argument.) The subjective nature of the concept crumbles the effectiveness of any law that would try to regulate pronoun usage, and the internal problems faced therein do not scratch the surface of another separate but important debate, the ethics of such a law.

Dr. Peterson’s call for a respectful debate and discussion on these matters has not earned him friends from the radical leftist fundamentalists and post-modernists who aren’t interested in a discussion. The clearest example of leftist opposition to Dr. Peterson occurred when his speech at McMaster University in Canada was hijacked by loud, obnoxious protesters with blow horns and microphones, whose mob-like siren call of “transphobic piece of shit” and “go home, Peterson” echoed across the entire classroom for all to hear. An anonymous letter was also published detailing why Peterson was not a suitable speaker at McMaster.

Dr. Peterson's reading and response to the letter can be watched here.

Disgusting. Embarrassing. Flagrant and abhorrent. It is hard to describe how far academia has fallen for their clueless administrators to allow such a spectacle to stain McMaster University’s name and reputation. This incident of callous, anti-scientific, anti-free speech, illiberal conduct in 21st-century academia is perhaps second only to the Berkeley riots which shut down gay conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech in February.

Radical leftists' methods are not new, and their intentions are clear. They don’t want an intelligent dissenter like Dr. Peterson to challenge the status quo, to buck the narrative, because they are afraid that their ideas will not stand up to examination and scrutiny. Their response, therefore, is to be loud and brash and disruptive and, should these methods fail to deter undesirable dissent—thoughtcrimes—from infecting their hallowed halls, violent. Physical, emotional, and mental abuse is used by all authoritarians as a final solution to quell skepticism. These people are dangerous and need to be resisted at every turn.

I stand in solidarity with Dr. Peterson and his cause—the cause of free speech and respectful debate, the cause of proper skepticism. There are others who agree with him, in academia and outside it, fellow psychologists and students of psychology like myself, and they are afraid to speak out because of the harsh treatment they would have to endure for the crime of expressing a contrary view.

Defy these neo-Puritan ideologues. Speak out. Speak loud and speak proud. The truth of the spoken word is the most valuable and powerful gift we have, and in the Western world, the opportunities to speak your mind are nearly limitless because of the internet and social media.

The great task of the 21st-century skeptic will be to keep these channels open and free, uncensored and unabridged. The great task of the 21st-century skeptic will be to ensure that colleges and universities do not succumb to ideological factions who stand in contradiction to the principles that made university education relevant for millennia.

Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for your unflinching willingness to stand up for principles despite significant opposition. Keep fighting the good fight.

Thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Nick Kozak

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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The Top 10 Taco Bell Items

This is the list of lists.

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Before I get into this list, I must mention a couple things or tidbits:

I've wrote a lot of serious articles lately, so I felt the need to write something that would be lighter. With that being said, this is still a very serious article.

I also wrote this while I was hungry, so that might have mixed up how certain items were ranked.

I also must rise to the defense of this restaurant that has taken a lot of flack recently. Is it Mexican food? Absolutely not. Is it Tex-Mex? Wrong again. But Taco Bell doesn't claim to be either. It's just good, greasy, cheap fast food (They have the best dollar menu don't @ me). We go there not for the quality food but for the quality. We go there not to eat right but to eat sinfully. We go there because there is not other place like the Bell.

So, read this, dive in, and get in your car and go get some Bell! My choices might make some of you angry or perplexed... but give it a chance:

First, some favorites that quite didn't make the cut:

-Doritos Locos Taco (Any flavor) There just isn't enough seasoning to make up for it!

-Quesadillas (Any meat)

-Regular Tacos (Bueno does them better)

-I should also say I LOVE Taco Bells breakfast, but for this list I kept the entries strictly for Lunch and Dinner.

And now, let's go! These are not in any particular order.

Cheesy Rollup

So good. So cheesy. So cheap. This seems like a snack you would have made when you were 7, but I could literally eat these by the bag full.

Spicy Potato Soft Taco

Another winner from the Dollar Menu. The potatoes and chipotle sauce win piled with lettuce and cheese on a soft taco.

Loaded Potato Griller

Another potato selection. The grillers have been a hit since they were first introduced, and these potato ones simply kill it!

Crunchwrap Supreme

An oldie but a goodie. It just doesn't get any more Taco Bell than this.

Quesarito (Preferably with Steak)

Who would have thought to make this wonderful creation? The people at Taco Bell, that's right. One is enough to fill you up for sure... and leave you wanting more.

Shredded Mini-Chicken Quesadilla

The only quesadilla to make the list is only a buck. But man it's so worth it. It's a little piece of Heaven wrapped in foil.

Cinnamon Twists

These are my dads favorite. He always used to get them when we got Taco Bell for dinner. Maybe that's why they are on here. Or maybe they are just the best sweet finish to a greasy meal.

Regular Nachos

I don't need a ton of nachos. I don't need them to make a whole meal. Just give me a bag of chips with a cup of cheese. It's the perfect addition to whatever else you are having.

Soft Taco

The original soft taco. Bueno makes a better regular one, but grab a soft one at Bell with some Mild or Hot sauce and it's as good as it gets.

Cheesy Gordita Crunch

My favorite. It's classic. It's essential. It's the physical representation of what Bell is. If you have never tried one, you need to. Today.

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