Content Notice: More trans-antagonistic codswallop.
A second rally for “free speech” was recently hosted at the University of Toronto inspired by the events of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s hysterics, in which the protesters characterize Bill C-16 as being Orwellian, totalitarian, and Maoist. This event was considerably smaller–only 60 attendants versus several hundred–and it did not feature Dr. Peterson himself nor was Rebel Media there to foment a riot. When you don’t have avowedly dishonest demagogues whipping people into a frenzy, actual dialogue can occur.
Colour me surprised.
The protesters and the Facebook event are described as follows:
The event’s description on Facebook stated that “radical left wing activists are trying to impose censorship on our thoughts and speech, and declare a moratorium on any form of expression that THEY deem offensive.”
The rally’s organizers insisted their event was apolitical.Speaking to The Varsity, organizer Maria Morzc said that “Free speech is not a system of beliefs; it is a fundamental human right. And, also, free speech is, basically, I mean, all we want is to state our opinions without being silenced, without being labelled, without being assaulted, and we welcome members of the so-called ‘radical left.’”
Another organizer, Riley Moher, described the group as “not a libertarian group, we’re not an alt-right group, we’re not a liberal group, we just stand for the freedom of speech.”
Here we go, in the spirit of actual dialogue: Basically everything you said is still bullshit. Let’s walk through this one word at a time.
radical left wing activists
Man, isn’t it great how scary you can make something sound when you label it as “radical”? Respecting the pronouns of trans people is radical now. It really is illustrating the bias here. Bill C-16 would criminalize the advocacy of genocide against trans people as well as public incitements to violence, but apparently saying you shouldn’t do that is “radical.”
Hypothesis: “Radical” here means, “people I don’t like.”
are trying to impose censorship on our thoughts and speech
Only the exact same censorship on your speech that has already existed for every other protected class in the Criminal Code for 40 odd years now. Are you seriously defending the right of people to advocate for genocide?
Also, how does one censor thoughts? No one has said you ought to be subjected to a frontal lobotomy for your inanity. Ridiculous.
and declare a moratorium on any form of expression that THEY deem offensive.
I’ll happily point out you’re trying to declare a moratorium on respecting trans people’s pronouns. It’s a knife that cuts both ways here.
The rally’s organizers insisted their event was apolitical
And I’m the Queen of England.
Free speech is not a system of beliefs; it is a fundamental human right.
Human rights are a system of beliefs. There is no objective system granting value to people’s lives. That is a social construct we more-or-less agree upon to facilitate stability and relative safety in our society. But we are, in the scheme of the universe itself, just a bunch of carbon bickering with itself on an irrelevant speck of sand on a miles long beach.
And, also, free speech is, basically, I mean, all we want is to state our opinions without being silenced
Okay but Bill C-16, again, is concerned with those opinions that think we should die for being who we are. If you aren’t calling for us to be put to death, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than charged with a hate crime.
It is also free speech for people to criticize you. Nobody is silencing you when we say you’re full of shit, or factually wrong, or blind to your own biases. I suspect what you actually want is to say a bunch of bullshit and go unchallenged for it.
without being labelled
What do you want me to do? “Transphobic” or “trans-antagonistic” are just words attempting to condense “suspicion or denigration of trans identities” into fewer syllables. Do you want to censor me for pointing out these patterns of belief as expressed by you and your freeze peach lobby?
without being assaulted
Okay sure, but that at least applies to both sides here. More generally, trans people are many many many many times more likely to be assaulted than you are, so maybe you should be directing your anti-assault efforts to cis people? Just a suggestion.
and we welcome members of the so-called ‘radical left.’
For the record, that was Dr. Peterson’s framing of the issue. I do not consider myself radical because I expect the correct name and pronouns to be used in reference to me as is the case with all cis people.
(I consider myself radical because I would see the means of production in the hands of the proletariat).
not a libertarian group
Free Speech Absolutism is certainly compatible with Libertarianism though.
we’re not an alt-right group
Your particular rally doesn’t set off those bells of mine, no. Your rally is a babbling mess but it reminds me more of naive freshmen still railing against “The Man” than it does of reactionary dickheads who want to deliberately restore second-class citizenship for anyone not cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, white and male.
we’re not a liberal group
I promise you the last thing I was going to accuse you of was being liberal.
we just stand for the freedom of speech
Just freedom for thee and none for me, apparently. Remember, you want to express your bullshit without me criticizing you for expressing bullshit. That’s not how this works.
A number of the speakers made comparisons between the university’s request that Peterson stop making public statements and totalitarianism. One speaker compared their struggle to the struggles of Chinese citizens decades ago in having to adopt the ideology of Maoism or face execution. “We’re faced [with] the idea of political correctness, with the social ostracization of us, of people who speak out against such mediocrity, against such cruelty, against such an affront to human rationality and the liberal values that Canada and America and the rest of the civilized world has been based on,” he said.
This is rich.
One speaker compared their struggle to the struggles of Chinese citizens decades ago in having to adopt the ideology of Maoism or face execution
We don’t have the death penalty in Canada.
We’re faced [with] the idea of political correctness
As I’ve said before, the freeze peach crowd wants to install political correctness too: It wants to elevate ignorance about gender variance to be politically correct despite the mountain of evidence contradicting their statements. We all want political correctness, and you need to stop pretending otherwise.
with the social ostracization of us
I’m sorry, none of the free speech protesters have been doxxed and are receiving death threats. It’s the trans protesters who cannot return to class until the RCMP has contained or discredited the threats. You’re trying to tell me that saying you’re full of shit is “ostracization”? You whiny fucking child.
of people who speak out against such mediocrity, against such cruelty
Expecting you to use the correct pronoun is “cruelty” now. I suppose the 90+% of us who have been, you know, actually assaulted is–what–mercy?
against such an affront to human rationality
Ahhh the old “my opponent is crazy” rhetorical tactic.
the liberal values that Canada and America and the rest of the civilized world has been based on
Liberal values like my right to say you’re full of shit? I am happily exercising that, right now.
Jacob Ritchie was walking by the event when he decided to participate, and he expressed an opposing view. Speaking of Bill C-16 — a piece of legislation aimed at protecting individuals from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression that Peterson criticizes in one of his lectures — Ritchie said to the crowd, “There’s nothing saying, like, if you go up to a guy and talk to them and you don’t use their pronouns you go to jail or you’re sectioned under the human rights law. It’s if you discriminate against them and you can go and prove that they’ve suffered a harm. And really I think there’s a much higher bar for that than you guys think there is. I think this whole thing is misguided.”
Guess what the freeze peach attenders did?
Ritchie was heckled by some attendees during his statements
“Freedom for me and none for thee” indeed. The organizer of the rally hushed the hecklers, to their credit, but it really punches holes in the whole “freedom of speech” banner they claim to fly.
Again, the high bar Ritchie is referring to is “advocacy for genocide” and “public incitement of hatred.” Are you seriously having to check yourself constantly lest you accidentally let slip “death to all trans”? These fears raised by the freeze peach crowd just do not connect with any reasonable sense of risk. It would be like objecting to the criminalization of attempted murder because every time you walk past someone you have to steel yourself to not randomly stab them to death. Seriously?
Morzc said that her cause supports marginalized groups and stressed the importance of free expression to address the issues that these groups face.“Please clear up the confusion. Because, you know, we support the LGBTQ rights and the Black rights, the rights of Black students, the rights of Black individuals in society, in general, and we recognize that they face unique challenges, and we recognize that they need to address those challenges,” she explained. “However, we believe that actually promoting freedom of speech and freedom of expression would go a long way towards actually addressing these existing problems, and stifling free speech will do the opposite.”
I love the “I’m not prejudiced, but” line. It never works.
The former half of Morzc’s statement is just peachy keen, but I fail to see how you can reconcile the intention to promote the safety and well-being of QUILTBAG citizens when there are other citizens who have no intentions of interrogating their prejudices, no intentions of listening or learning, no intentions of fact checking, and every intention of avowedly and self-admittedly antagonizing the safety and well-being of those QUILTBAG citizens. It’s just not compatible to claim reactionary dickheads who want to hurt us deserve the platform to express those sentiments whilst also claiming to care about the QUILTBAG people targeted by this prejudice.
Peterson is a professor. Now that he has gone on record to publicly state he has every intention of discriminating against the trans students who enter his class, he has explicitly erected a barrier to trans folk at the U of T. If any of his classes are core classes for a degree, then trans folk trying to get that degree now have to enter Dr. Peterson’s class trusting that his prejudice won’t unfairly affect his ability to grade them. Alternatively, if they can pretend to not be trans, they might be able to avoid that prejudice–but then, Dr. Peterson forcing trans students to make that choice in the first place (if it’s even an option) clearly demonstrates that he has disregarded the rights of the trans students, specifically the right to access education. This isn’t an issue of two peers in disagreement. This is an issue of a person in a position of authority openly admitting he will abuse that authority to single out certain students.
This is what the U of T faculty were referring to in their letter, that as an educator he has a “responsibility to follow the law and follow U of T policies.” If the U of T doesn’t want to be known as a school that deliberately creates barriers for a certain class of students, it is compelled to repudiate Dr. Peterson. Dr. Peterson has admitted he knows this. He’s tapping into the martyr complex of the far-right by throwing himself on the sword, proving that the “SJWs” and “radical-leftists” are out to get him, when in reality we recognize that he is compromising a number of rights that trans people theoretically have, which have less to do with pronouns and more to do with accessing the same education everybody else can get. They will blame us for the target he painted on his own back.
There’s no guarantee how this will go. Being tenured, it will be next to impossible to actually turf Peterson. But the U of T also has the right to recognize the effect his spastic, howling, attention-seeking episode has had on trans students.
Ultimately what the freeze peach crowd wants is freedom from consequences, as evidenced by their obsession with Peterson. They want their prejudice against trans people to go unchallenged. Peterson is just a convenient screen onto which these anxieties are projected. That’s why it’s not about the legalities of Bill C-16: If they could be bothered to do their homework on Canada’s hate crime legislation, they’d see the threshold you have to cross to be charged. Since I doubt so many of them are publicly posting plans for school shootings, I also doubt any of them will ever face legal consequences for their actions.
And so we resort to social consequences. You know, the things like “that isn’t corroborated by the evidence,” “that’s not true,” “the study doesn’t say that,” “citation needed,” “that’s incredibly rude,” “there’s no reason to believe that,” that sort of thing?
Hardly the disappearing act of the KGB these freeze peachers so fearfully anticipate.