The Intellectual Fraudulence of Jordan Peterson (apropos of Daniel Karasik)

Daniel,

I trust that our online paths have crossed often enough for you to know that I generally enjoy your work and I think you produce essays which stand on their own merits. I was not kept abreast of the Facebook “shitstorm,” as you put it, because I am never on Facebook except when I’m shamelessly promoting a blog post such as this, but I did think the vitriol of some of the comments on your  “How to save the Canadian Theatre” piece seemed outbalanced and unfair.

All that being allowed, I have to say that your latest  column in the Toronto Sun, in which you offer a stumbling defence of Jordan Peterson,  is an unfortunate work; as a piece of argumentation it is ill-informed, lazy, and well beneath the standard which I’ve become accustomed to enjoying from you.

You remarked lately on Twitter that you’re a “disillusioned liberal gone left,” and indeed, you  seem to be undergoing some effort to let everyone know it; well, to borrow a potentially spurious tag about a certain Teamsters representative: being a leftist is a bit like being ladylike; if you have to say that you are, you probably ain’t. No matter how many times you repeat your claim to “leftist” bona fides, you can’t simply affirm what has to be proven. It’s not that I doubt you;  it’s just that I sort of wish you wouldn’t keep saying it all the time.

Jordan Peterson has lately appointed himself a critic of the federal Liberal government’s proposed Bill C-16, a brief amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code and Human Rights Act. The amendment consists in adding “gender identity” and “gender expression” – previously non-enumerated by the Charter – to those sections of the relevant legislation that prohibit discrimination and “hate speech” towards identifiable groups. The thrust of Peterson’s advocacy, echoed and enthusiastically embraced by you, is that this constitutes a “serious restriction of freedom of speech”. You write that it is “necessary,” therefore, to defend Jordan Peterson. Plainly, such a thing is “necessary” if and only if the following conditions can be satisfied:

  1. his factual claims (premises) are true;
  2.  his assumptions are reasonable;
  3. his conclusions are justifiable.

This being the case, let us turn now to a more careful study of what it is we’re meant to be “defending.”

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News round-up for 28.08.2013. (update)

1. Tasers

  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association releases a statement in response to the Ontario government’s plan to expand the use of tasers among police. The statement calls for funds to expandd de-escalation training, as opposed to new weapons.

2. Syria

  • The  Nation‘s Phyllis Bennis has a fantastic piece this morning making the case against military intervention.
  • The website of The New York Times was hacked yesterday; the so-called “Syrian Electronic Army” has taken credit.
  • For perspective, a blog written by an actual Syrian revolutionary, & why he opposes Western intervention.

3. Fukushima

  • The severity of Japan’s nuclear facility’s leak has been upgraded by the country’s nuclear regulator.

4. Surveillance

  • Evidence that the US government bugged the UN has damaged American relations with other countries, particularly Germany.

5. Quebec

  • The PQ government unveils a new, bigoted “Values Charter”: here.

(Update)

  • In an historic ruling, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that the Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals could be held liable for massive human rights abuses at its mine in Guatemala, including the assassination of community organizer Adolfo Ich Chaman.

News round-up for 22.08.2013. (update)

1. Civil Liberties

  • The Parti Quebecois are set to unveil (so to speak) new legislation which would ban religious symbols in all public institutions, including hospitals, government buildings, & courts.
  • CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada), the Canadian equivalent of the US’s NSA, is accused by watchdog Robert Decary of illegally spying on Canadian citizens.
  • The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) accuses the NSA of illegally collecting tens of thousands of emails.

2. Egypt

  • A Canadian lawyer is set to meet with detained Canadian citizens John Greyson & Tarek Loubani.

3. Syria

  • Interesting piece in the New Yorker concerning chemcial weapons viz. the Assad regime.
  • Hundreds feared dead in recent chemical weapon attack; see here.

4. Bradley Manning

(update – 10:32 PM)

  • There are, in today’s news, three stories about the shameful & grossly under-reported activites of Canada’s powerful mining industry. In the first, here, three aboriginal tribes (the Lutsel K’e Dene, the Yellow Knife Dene, & the Tlicho) have come out to publicly oppose a newly proposed diamond mine 300 kilometres east of Yellowknife, citing environmental conerns. The second, here, summarizes commens of UBC Professor John Stockner at the public hearings for the New Prosperity open-pit mine in British Columbia. Finally, Mexican journalists the account the role the Canadian embassy played in the deaths & abuses against miners & local activists committed by Canadian mining giant Blackfire.

“Fairly soon, the impact will roughly destroy 40 to 50 per cent of the wetlands that drain into the system, and its productivity is completely based upon on what happens in its drainage.” – UBC Professor John Stockner

News Round-up for 21.08.13.

1. Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison.

  • Manning is the Army private responsible for leaking documents of war crimes committed by the US & its allies to Wikileaks. Note that the documents he leaked would be declassified in 25 years – yet he gets 35. More on his trial and sentencing here.
  • Manning’s sentence was reduced by 112 days due to his pre-trial treatment by the US military. He had been locked in solitary confinement, stripped naked & exposed to extreme temperatures such that the UN deemed it torture.
  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association released a statement expressing concernts w/r/t to Bradley Manning & free speech.

2. Egypt

3. Climate change

  • A recent report shows that Vancouver is near the top of the list of cities to be wiped off the face of the earth due to climate change.