Jordan Peterson v. the College of Psychologists of Ontario

There is a very widespread myth that ‘free speech’ somehow means the right to say or write absolutely anything without any consequences whatsoever, regardless of its accuracy or potential impact upon others. This is, of course, rubbish. Quite apart from the fact that rights have to be balanced against the rights of others in a ‘your freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins’ way and thus there are quite rightly legal limits on what people are allowed to say, there’s also the fact that speech does not exist in a consequence-devoid vacuum. The things you say are going to impact what people think of you, how they react to you, and, if you’re behaving in a particularly insulting or bigoted way, whether they can feasibly continue employing you.

However, there are a lot of people who either don’t get this or pretend not to, and will react to any adverse consequence for anything they or their heroes say – including insults and outright lies – as an outrageous impingement upon their rights and a crisis in society. I’m going to write about one such case which hit the headlines a few months ago, which, as you will likely have figured out from the post title, is Jordan Peterson’s unsuccessful showdown with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.


Peterson, as many of you will know, is a right-wing social media influencer and professor who is known, among other things, for making offensive comments about various people on various forms of social media. He also used to work as a clinical psychologist, although he stopped this line of work six years ago, and he has chosen to maintain his licence with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Holding a licence with a professional college does, however, normally involve more than just choosing to do so; there are requirements to be met. In the case of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, the Standards of Conduct include requirements that members ‘comply with the regulatory authority of the College’ and ‘comply with those statutes and regulations that apply to the provision of psychological services’, including the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists. The first principle of this code is ‘Respect for the Dignity of Persons and Peoples’, and spells out the following ban:

[Members shall] Not engage publicly (e.g., in public statements, presentations, research reports, with primary clients or other contacts) in degrading comments about others, including demeaning jokes based on such characteristics as culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

In short, one of the conditions of remaining licenced to practice psychology in Canada is that you avoid public bigotry and don’t make ‘degrading comments’ or ‘demeaning jokes’ in public. Seems a reasonable enough requirement for an official licence to practice a profession that involves supporting and helping people through some of their most vulnerable moments.

However, this requirement has caused problems for Jordan Peterson, who does not want to give up publicly making degrading comments or demeaning jokes.


This comes from the writeup of the eventual court decision, which is available here.

2018-ish to early 2020: the College received multiple complaints about Peterson. I can’t find any details of what complaints came in during this time period were (although, looking through Peterson’s history, there does not seem to have been a shortage of potential candidates for complaint among his public statements) except that apparently they included concerns that some of the things Peterson said were racist, sexist, or transphobic.

March 2020: the College’s Inquiries, Complaints, and Review Committee (the ICRC) held an investigation into said complaints. They did conclude that ‘the manner and tone in which Dr. Peterson espouses his public statements may reflect poorly on the profession of psychology’, but all that they did at this point was to issue a polite though slightly pointed reprimand.

January 2022 – June 2022: several further complaints came in. (This implies that there weren’t any between the first investigation and January 2022. I don’t know whether this is because Peterson actually did dial it back a bit after the first investigation or whether he just got lucky.) These ones are listed in the court decision; some examples include:

  • On a podcast, Peterson joked about the deaths and illnesses of children from overpollution by quipping that they were ‘just poor children’.
  • Following the eviction of a very disruptive anti-vaccine protest in Ottawa, a councillor made a comment on Twitter about how peaceful the city now felt, and Peterson responded by calling her an appalling self-righteous moralising thing.
  • He referred to a surgeon as a ‘criminal’ for performing top surgery (a bilateral mastectomy on a a trans man) even though mastectomies are perfectly legal and the person was an adult who had consented to it. (He also deliberately used the trans man’s former name and pronouns, knowing the man no longer wants to be addressed that way. This is called ‘deadnaming’ and is a known way of being pointedly and deliberately rude to trans people about their transgender status.)

March 2022 – July 2022: the ICRC investigated this further round of complaints. (There seems to have been some back-and-forth here with the ICRC issuing an initial report to which Peterson replied, and one of the above complaints coming in while this was all ongoing. Also, during this time the social media platform then known as Twitter suspended Peterson for his behaviour, although Elon Musk later reinstated his account.)

4th August 2022: the College wrote to Peterson to express their concerns about some of the statements in question, pointing out that ‘public statements that are demeaning, degrading, and unprofessional may cause harm, both to the people they are directed at, and to the impacted and other communities more broadly’. They advised him to ‘to reflect on these issues with a period of coaching’ with a person OK’d by the College. (‘Reflect on these issues with a period of coaching’ is, as far as I can see, college-speak for ‘we can’t just ignore this problem, but we still really want to resolve it without head-on conflict’. The College seem to have been trying very hard to take a route that didn’t involve moving directly to pulling Peterson’s licence.)

6th September 2022: Peterson wrote back to the college refusing this suggestion. He told them that instead he would surround himself with an echo chamber a ‘wide range’ of unspecified family members/acquaintances who could give him feedback on his tone and content.

13th September 2022: the College wrote back to point out that, as this would not be a college-approved course, they would have no guarantee of the quality of the advice being given to Peterson, so, no. Still had to be someone OK’d by the College. (They sent him contact details for two possibilities.)

Some time around this point, date unknown: Peterson got a lawyer to write to the College, apparently claiming that this was some sort of conflict with Peterson’s right to ‘free expression’. The summary in the court report doesn’t give the date or details of this letter, stating only that the College replied on 7th October to say that as a Member of the College he was expected to ‘conduct himself in a way that is consistent with professional standards and ethics’, and that his reported public statements had not met this standard.

21st October 2022: Peterson’s lawyer wrote to the College with Peterson’s official refusal to sign an agreement to attend the required course.

22nd November 2022: The ICRC issued their official decision. This included their concerns that Peterson’s comments could be seen as ‘degrading, demeaning, and unprofessional’, ‘inflammatory’, ‘disgraceful’, or ‘dishonourable’. They pointed out that ‘potential harms include undermining public trust in the profession of psychology, and trust in the College’s ability to regulate the profession in the public interest… Furthermore, public statements that are demeaning, degrading, and unprofessional may cause harm, both to the people they are directed at, and to the impacted and other communities more broadly.’ They felt there was a high risk of Peterson continuing to act this way.

In conclusion, they still required Peterson to go ahead with the coaching programme as previously requested. Not only that, but they were also going to require confirmation from the coach that Peterson actually seemed to be taking the advice on board and making the necessary changes in how he presented himself on public fora. Failure on Peterson’s part to do these things could potentially be considered professional misconduct. In other words, if Peterson wanted to maintain his psychologist’s licence, he was going to have to literally get with the programme.

Some point soon after this: Peterson took the College to court, claiming that the College were setting unreasonable restrictions that infringed on his right to free speech.

23rd August 2023: The court issued their judgement, which was that no, setting reasonable standards for approving the granting or continuation of a licence did not count as infringement on free speech, and, yes, the College’s requirements counted as reasonable standards. Therefore, the College’s judgement stood.


Peterson ranted. (Content warning for Peterson’s thoughts on transgender issues at that link. However, you can at least click on it without adding to his clicks, as I set it up as a web.archive link.)

His free speech rights were being infringed! He was being cancelled for his anti-trans stance! He will keep on boldy telling the truth in the face of adversity Just Like Those Noble Biblical Prophets Of Old! Describing a surgeon as a ‘criminal’ for doing top surgery on a consenting adult is perfectly appropriate since there are completely different kinds of surgery which it would be criminal to do on children, and of course that logic makes perfect sense! Anyone who still believes free speech exists in Canada is delusional!

(That, by the way, is not what ‘delusional’ means. Quite apart from anything else, I think Peterson’s apparent ignorance of the meaning of a normal psychiatric term should possibly raise at least some level of question over his fitness to work as a psychologist, not to mention his apparent belief that it’s appropriate to use it as a slur.)

(Also: No, in all this ranting he doesn’t seem to have mentioned his ‘joke’ about children dying from air pollution. Maybe he realised that that would be a harder one to spin as just his moral stance/perfectly legitimate opinion.)


Firstly; I know this observation has been made in similar cases before, but can we all take a moment to reflect on the irony that these claims of Peterson’s that he’s being ‘cancelled’ and deprived of his free speech rights are being made in an article in a national paper and in comments on internationally-read social media? Peterson not only very demonstrably still has free speech, he has about the widest platform for it imaginable.

Secondly, the right to free speech does not include a right to protection from its natural consequences. Peterson can speak freely all he wants. The College aren’t stopping him. Regardless of anything the College do or don’t do at this point, he will still have his various social media platforms and will still be able to express his views on them to his heart’s content. However, if he continues to choose to use that free speech to make degrading comments and demeaning jokes, then he will not be allowed to continue to hold a licence the conditions of which specifically require avoiding degrading comments and demeaning jokes.

Peterson’s actual issue here seems to be that he doesn’t have a right to a licence. Which he doesn’t, because holding a licence isn’t a right; licences are conditional on fulfilling the criteria set by the licencing body.

Thirdly, I’ve started to suspect Peterson’s not nearly as bothered as he claims. I suspect that he’s actually doing a good job playing everybody.

Peterson’s an intelligent man and quite capable of understanding the judge’s arguments. He’s also demonstrated, in the past, that he’s quite capable of understanding the impact of online criticism, at least when he’s on the receiving end of it. I’m not ruling out the possibility that he really is so self-centred and lacking in empathy that he genuinely cannot see why his style of speaking is a big problem for those people or groups on the receiving end, but, on the whole, I think it a lot more likely that he is consciously and deliberately playing the martyr here because he knows how well that will play to his audience.

Peterson knows perfectly well that his followers are the kind of people who will seize uncritically on the idea that their rights are being violated and how very dare anyone. And that, of course, is exactly what’s happened here. Articles have been written and hands wrung about how terrible it is that poor Peterson has been denied his rights and that it! could! happen! to! you! Outrage is being relished. Which all gets Peterson the clicks, the followers, and, I suspect, rather a lot in the way of donations and free advertising for his books.

And fourthly… it occurred to me to wonder how many, out of all the followers who are getting outraged on Peterson’s behalf, are actually working in some way towards supporting free speech rights for the people in the world who genuinely are denied them. And I’m guessing it’s… well, maybe not actually zero, but not all that many.

I get that. I really do. Getting outraged on someone else’s behalf is easy and satisfying, checking out the other side of the story is harder, and actually getting involved in activism about an issue… well, that’s a lot harder. I’m not good at that side of things myself. But, if you’re happy to shout about how this is an outrageous violation of free speech but don’t actually want to put any effort into supporting organisations that fight against actual outrageous violations of free speech – not ‘he will lose a licence he doesn’t need if he keeps violating the licence conditions’, but people who are facing arrest, imprisonment, and retaliation against themselves and their families – then it’s worth thinking about where your priorities really lie.

If you are someone who does want to support free speech for those who don’t have it, and you have a bit of spare time and/or money to do so, this is a list of links to Amnesty International’s campaigns which gives details of what you can do to support them and this is the link to donate money to them. Thank you for anything you can do.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Fine write-up, but I feel a need for a small correction:

    … Peterson’s comments could be seen as ‘degrading, demeaning, and unprofessional’, ‘inflammatory’, ‘disgraceful’, or ‘dishonourable’.

    or -> and

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Peterson is no Groucho Marx, and he seems to be having trouble with the idea that this club doesn’t want him as a member.

  3. says

    For some reason, bullshit artists seem to be all about “free speech” – especially speech that is free of responsibility or consequences.

    There are two areas where I consider myself fairly knowledgeable: philosophy with a focus on post-modern thought, and psychology. Those happen to be areas where Peterson pontificates often and my assessment is that his expertise is minimal. I know that’s a crazy claim to make about a guy with a PHd in Psychology, but he regularly cites stuff as if it were fact, when it was already thoroughly debunked when I was an undergrad in the Psych department – around the same time Peterson would have been working on his doctorate. Sure, they taught about Freud and Jung, but in the context of “this is some of the history of our field,” not “this is current live science.” Yet Peterson pronounces Jungian crap as though its the latest research (expert tip: Jung made it all up, none of it has any experimental support at all) (ditto Freud) – he even talks about IQ tests like they are a serious thing, in spite of the fact that in our undergraduate semesters on testing methodologies, IQ tests are discussed as sort of a cautionary tale but also a useful tool for measuring an individual against their past self for lack of anything better. My experience of watching a few Peterson videos is a lot of jaw-hanging, “he said what?!” His discourses on post-modernism are extremely shallow, to the point that I’m fairly sure he has never engaged the topic with real thought, and certainly has never done any reading. I’m serious. If Peterson’s studies of post-modernism included reading the Wikipedia page, he’d be less wrong about the topic in general. You know that joke: “what do you get when you cross a post-modernist with a mafiosi?” That appears to be what he bases a lot of his understanding of the topic upon. It’s sad, too, because if Peterson actually understood the topic at all, he’d be able to have a lot of fun with post-modernist tropes, except he’s an authoritarian and post-modernists tend to lean away from authority. Peterson’s commentary about post-modernism seems to me to mostly come from right-wing talking points (.e.g: “social marxism”) which has fuck all to do with post-modernism except that there were Jews involved and saying “Frankfurt School” makes little bells ring in fascist hearts. (The Frankfurt School, particularly Adorno, were concerned with the question of authoritarianism and fascism and right-wingers tend to knee-jerk about it because they don’t know anything about it but feel threatened) Anyhow, Peterson is utterly wrong about these two areas of thought, which are central to his persona. What else is he wrong about?

    Is it possible that he is wrong about nearly everything? Seems like.

    Many of us have had the experience of having an interesting, rapid-fire, “deep” conversation with someone who is tripping. If you’re tripping, yourself, it can be mutually amusing but the next day you usually realize that it was just a trippy bullshit session, where facts were thin on the ground, and surface similarities were all that mattered. That is the sensation I have when I watch Peterson talking. He’s tripping balls and his sense of self-skepticism is so compromised that he just sails from empty assertion to empty assertion and if his audience have only surface knowledge of the topic, they mistake him for being profound. Basically, the man is one big Gish Gallop of puffy assertions.

  4. SchreiberBike says

    I try to not pay too much attention to things that are unappealing and uninteresting to me. Jordan Peterson has been very much in that category. Still, it’s important to know what influential are people are saying because of the consequences it can have.

    Thank you for the summary above.

  5. says

    [Peterson] also used to work as a clinical psychologist, although he stopped this line of work six years ago…

    …because clinical anything requires you to STFU and listen to other people talking about their issues in their own words — which is something Peterson has no desire to do. (That’s probably also why Peterson is so into Jungian psychology: it’s about ancient stories and archetypes, and if you know the ancient stories, you can pretend you know your patients’ stories better than they know their own, and thus still have endless chances to do all the talking, without having to listen to dull boring individual details that don’t fit your ideological framework.)

    …and he has chosen to maintain his licence with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

    …because he wants to keep the credential to use as a shield, without having (or wanting) to do any of the actual work or follow any of the rules that go with the credential. And as we can see here, it’s also another opportunity to pick attention-grabbing fights when people question his honesty or credibility.

  6. says

    I notice Peterson’s once-rabid-and-nonstop-blithering fanboys went really really quiet a few years back. Either they all gave up defending their favorite crap-artist at more or less the same time, or someone in the message-control department gave a directive to stop directing attention toward valid criticism of a right-wing figurehead.

  7. says

    …and post-modernists tend to lean away from authority.

    Do they really? IANAE on post-modernism, but from what I’ve heard, post-modernists claim to reject any basis for claims of LEGITIMATE authority — but since humans are social creatures who need to be governed by some form of authority, that ends up meaning that legitimate authority is undermined and any manner of illegitimate authority ends up taking its place. So in effect, that’s not really “anti-authority,” it’s “pro-unchecked-power,” or in other words, pro-fascist.

  8. says

    Raging Bee@#8:
    Do they really? IANAE on post-modernism, but from what I’ve heard, post-modernists claim to reject any basis for claims of LEGITIMATE authority — but since humans are social creatures who need to be governed by some form of authority, that ends up meaning that legitimate authority is undermined and any manner of illegitimate authority ends up taking its place.

    That’s blaming the effects of a vacuum on the people who point it out. In the cultural context of POMO’s flourishing, Europe had just seen up close what happens when authoritarians gain control of the levers of government. So, yes, there was a concern with authority but mostly I’d characterize POMO as a skeptical tendency more than anything else. Since they tended to be skeptical of government, they tended to be seen as aligned broadly with the left, which is why authoritarians often demonize POMO as near-Marxist or something like that. That’s wrong.

    Broadly, POMO’s name gives up the game. The “modernist project” would be the enlightenment notion that we can think everything through, apply our deontological ethics and systematized government, and think our way into moving humanity forward. The POMO (“post-“) launched what I would characterize as skeptical attacks on the fruits of modernity. Remember, the POMO were sometimes standing around in the rubble-strewn landscape that had been created by post-enlightenment modernity.

    Scholars of POMO would typically call Nietzsche the first POMO, but I’d point more toward Rousseau, who was in the process of shit-canning the enlightenment from the inside with his highly subversive anti-authoritarian writings. (But that’s me!) But, roughly, Nietzsche attempted to destroy religion by analyzing it as a system of authority. (“slave morals” and all that) Here’s where it gets tricky with regard to Raging Bee’s point: was Nietzsche an authoritarian or not? I … Uh, well, he fired shots below the waterline of christianity, which was Europe’s dominant social power structure at the time, but then went haring off on his own passionate version of “do as thou will’t shall be the whole of the law.” (note: there was no cross-fertilization between Nietzsche and Crowley, that was me having fun) Nietzsche was a great underminer of stuff, not so great at building replacements, so (as Raging Bee says) left a vacuum for authoritarians. I would say something like that Nietzsche was arguing for the authority of the self more than anything else, a sort of passionate self-awareness and conscious decision-making that would have pleased Plato.

    [In the context of being “an underminer of stuff” you can see why I’d put Rousseau on Team POMO]

    The other POMO respectively continued Nietzsche’s trajectory of undermining authority. Sartre, for example, was deeply concerned with undermining people’s definition of themselves in an authoritarian context. (Again, look at the culture in which Sartre was writing!) His famous parable of the waiter is a great example – he is challenging how an individual defines themself in society versus how society defines them, and questioning by what right this happens? Sartre was in a society that had just been horribly wracked over the question “what is a Jew?” after all, and perhaps I am wrong, but I cannot read any of Sartre without seeing the scars and distortions of the French experience of collaboration with the nazis.

    Was Camus a POMO? Was Andre Bretton? Salvador Dali? Picasso? Alfred Jarry? There was another thread of philosophers/artists who were attacking the modernist-built civilization that was blowing itself to ruins, and if you look for a common thread through surrealism, dadaism, cubism, and Camus’ discomfort with society, it was a reaction to the establishment’s way of doing things, attempting to get people to consider other options, politically, artistically, literately. I interpret anti-establishment as anti-authoritarian (the establishment does!) but were they pushing for a way of doing things that would fill the vacuum they were creating? Yes! Camus was implicitly arguing that, since we’ve got no idea what the fuck we are doing here, we may as well make our choices explicitly and thoughtfully (“do as thou will’t…”) and Bretton, Dali, Picasso, Jarry were all arguing for various creative absurdisms to fill the vacuum created when the golden calf of power was toppled. That’s my analysis, anyway. I’ll note that the absurdists (Bretton and Jarry) (I don’t know if Jarry would have been considered an absurdist but whatever) were often explicitly mocking the establishment. Bretton invented a game he called “mock the priest” which consisted of absurdists sitting at their table in some cafe, yelling insults and rude japes at every passing soutane. Were they filling the vacuum, though? No, their answer would have been “make art, not gestapo.” or something like that.

    Foucault launched an attack on the authority of the state over our bodies, and the carceral state. I’ve heard people criticize him as a pornographer of torture, but I’ve waded through Discipline and Punish and it’s my strongly held opinion that he put the word “Discipline” first in the title for a reason. Foucault was trying to explore how the state forces people to do its will through performative “justice” also known as “torture.” If that’s not anti-authoritarian, I don’t know what is. Foucault was, indirectly, trying to remove the state’s greatest tool for creating itself, other than its military. To Raging Bee’s point, he did not suggest a replacement. But we should not blame him for the vacuum into which authoritarians rushed because … did you notice that vacuum was never created? The establishment more or less said, “wow that was brilliant writing but, uh, POMO are a bunch of poseurs, nyuk nyuk” and never really made any effort to refute them. In my opinion, how could they?

    Derrida gets the bulk of the jokes for POMO aimed in his direction. All the stuff about POMO being a load of bafflegab, mostly refers to Derrida, whose project appears to have been a sort of linguistic nihilism aimed at “deconstructing” specific words to show that our language has been heavily tilted in the direction preferred by authoritarians. In my opinion, Chomsky basically re-did Derrida’s work, only way better. I’ve read a bit of Derrida and listened to some lectures, and I’m with team bafflegab about Derrida. It’s like Language, Truth, and Logic for French people who have had a bottle or two of burgundy to warm up. He was charming and eloquent and funny and maybe I should re-visit his work but I’m not impressed. He did tell one truly spectacular joke. He did a talk in New York (going from memory) in which he kept critiquing The Cows. He was blaming a lot of the ills of society on beef, apparently. The students in the audience kept diligently taking notes. There was a break, and the great man returned to the podium and said, “excuse me, I have been informed that it is pronounced ‘chaos.'” and continued criticizing the chaos.

    So, to summarize: I see POMO as a skeptical movement that had a broad project to “deconstruct” (if I may use Derrida’s word) everything on the basis that social constructs are mostly false fronts with authoritarians hiding behind. That summary may be severely tilted by my personal views, but that’s a very POMO attitude, as well: we cannot really see the social constructs around us any more than a fish can see water. All the POMO were trying to do, from Nietzsche (or Rousseau) down was to challenge the accepted norms that build state authority, and anything prescriptive that they offered was constantly “do as thou will’t” – and, with apologies to Crowley, I have been deliberately changing the spelling since high school as my own POMO statement. The post-modernists all did not encourage that we replace authority with more authority – they wanted us to think for ourselves and to act with intention.

  9. KG says

    The most notably POMOists these days are surely those who explicitly offer “alternative facts”. Who don’t tend to be particularly anti-authoritarian.

  10. says

    That’s blaming the effects of a vacuum on the people who point it out.

    No, that’s blaming the effects of a vacuum on the people who helped, in big or small ways, to create it. That includes philosophers who should have known better than to let their words be co-opted by the worst thugs and con-artists of their respective countries.

    In the cultural context of POMO’s flourishing, Europe had just seen up close what happens when authoritarians gain control of the levers of government.

    If they survived that war, they would have also seen up close that those authoritarian regimes were overthrown (in the case of Nazi Germany) or at least held in check (in the case of Stalinist USSR) by a coalition of relatively-democratic states that based their authority on a shared concept of LEGITIMACY, which, in turn, was based largely on very plausible claims of being elected by the people via processes and institutions also recognized as legitimate. And that’s precisely the kind of regime those states helped to build in place of the Nazi regime (in the western half at least) — a regime everyone could see was lightyears better than what had gone before it. That’s a lesson from recent history that the POMOs should have learned: you can quibble and play the “skeptic” WRT the legitimacy of governments, but the fact remains that the people can secure their liberty, their social stability, and their necessary institutions ONLY by agreeing on some underlying shared concept of what is and is not “legitimate” authority or power. Dumbass phony anarchists who pretend they can look down on what works for the rest of us shmucks are, at best, not helping, and only come off as prissy little tw*ts with no common sense.

    (Also, remember what GK Chesterton said: “While the poor may sometimes object to being governed badly, the rich always object to being governed at all.” So who do you think stands to benefit most from the undermining of the legitimacy of any state power? The people who can afford to bribe or finance whoever they want in power. That’s who’s benefitting from Retrumplitarian efforts to undermine US government and power.)

    Scholars of POMO would typically call Nietzsche the first POMO, but I’d point more toward Rousseau, who was in the process of shit-canning the enlightenment from the inside with his highly subversive anti-authoritarian writings.

    Rousseau wrote what he wrote without the benefit of subsequent historical experience. Also, was he really that consistently “anti-authoritarian?” Didn’t he also talk about people having to be “forced to be free?” I don’t remember much of his writings, but wasn’t there at least a little strain of backtracking, like “Oh wait, if we shit-can all those Enlightenment values, the people are gonna need something to replace it!”? I do remember thinking back then, “Yeah, that’s how we got the Bolsheviks, innit?”

    I interpret anti-establishment as anti-authoritarian…

    I don’t. Here in the USA, “the establishment” is our best, and possibly only, means of keeping today’s Christofascist authoritarians from taking over and destroying everything remotely decent about our country. Why do you think all those authoritarians are pretending to be “anti-establishment” and screaming about the “deep state?” Seriously, have you not noticed how anti-progressive right-wing bigots have been co-opting left-wing anarchist and anti-authoritarian rhetoric since at least the late ’70s? That’s one of the first things I noticed about the libertarians back then.

  11. says

    PS: Apologies for being so late with my response. I was sick with “flu A” and busy with Christmas/Yule/Solstice stuff, then busy with New Year and a little house-purging. And I’m still not quite over whatever I had before…

  12. KG says

    Seriously, have you not noticed how anti-progressive right-wing bigots have been co-opting left-wing anarchist and anti-authoritarian rhetoric since at least the late ’70s? That’s one of the first things I noticed about the libertarians back then.

    Same in the UK. The co-option of anti-statist rhetoric by the Thatcherites was one factor that shifted me from left anarchism to democratic ecosocialism during the ’80s. (Having noticed that, it subsequently occurred to me that things which had made my childhood and youth a lot easier than my parents’ – free health care and free education though university particularly – had been provided by, er… the state.)

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