2017/03/17: Chaos (and Order) at McMaster University

2017/03/17: Chaos (and Order) at McMaster University

October 10, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


(chanting) They, Them! They, Them! (chanting) Trans rights are human rights! (chanting) This is stolen land! (chanting) Shame! Shame! Shame on you! (chanting) Transphobic piece of shit! (chanting) This is where we draw the line! (chanting with cowbells and an occasional airhorn blast) This is where we draw the line! Jordan Peterson: So the first (unintelligible) I’ve just received about thirty letters from transsexual people (cowbells incessant…) (swell of whooping and applause) (More airhorns)
Jordan: And… twenty-nine of them … …supported what I was doing. So… (chanting) Overcome the crap Some of the people whose voices are not being heard today are actually members of the transsexual community who happen to agree with me. And there’s lots of them. Megaphone: Fuck this! No speech for transphobic bigots! (unintelligible) …a single transsexual can’t speak for transsexual people no more then a single white person can’t speak for white people. There’s absolutely no… There’s absolutely no reason to assume… Megaphone: Shame on Jordan Peterson, and shame on “Overcome the Gap” for providing Peterson a platform! …that the activists who are performing there’s no representative of the (not sure) communities they purport to represent. They have no… they have no legitimate representation whatsoever. So most of the transsexual people I’ve had the opportunity to speak with… Protestor: Stop saying transsexual! …believe that the kind of protest we’re seeing here are not in their best interest at all. (really unsure about the rest, will update) Megaphone: Peace & dignity for trans-people is not to be debated! And they’re also afraid that (???) is going to be harmful for them as individuals Now, there’s a general rule that they disagree with my plat.. my stance on, uh “No speech for Jordan Peterson!” On the general use of pronouns, right? So… So one of the things I will ask all of you in this room, is to think hard before you assume… that those activists act for the groups they purport to represent, because they don’t. They have no legitimacy. “No speech for Jordan Peterson!” “Forty-four percent of ( ) consider suicide. That is not to be debated.” (megaphone) “No debate or conversation of transphobic bigots!” Random person: “How are we gonna have progressive discourse for trans-people when we shut down opposing viewpoints?! I find it also slightly disturbing that one of the things that… …that people at the university are taught, often by their activist professors… …is that coming out and protestingactually constitutes a moral thing to do. Because it’s super easy. “Trans-people do not need to debate their well-being.” And part of their reason that I’ve been talking about individual responsibility, while going all the way through this is because this is absolutely pathetic. You know? (cheers and applause) When you look around and see people in this room… who’ve come to university to learn and they’re being taught that this is actually the way to…. move your political agenda forward, or even formulate it. Megaphone: “…known transphobe with a history of denying the fundamental humanity…” Jordan: and it’s, really incomprehensible to me. Megaphone: “Forty-one percent of trans youths have attempted or considered suicide.” “..providing a platform for bigotry. Vulnerable students at the university do not care about their health and (safety?) Conversation in background Another thing you might think about, those of you… come to listen is that… This will undoubtedly be broadcast on Youtube and there will be hundreds of thousands of people watching. My experience has been so far that…There comes a (protest state?) …that this is… Just look at all of this? (Ican’t make this out.) And so that’s just as well. So, it’s not such a bad thing to let this sort of thing to play itself out. “Hate speech is not free speech.” One of the interesting things about hate speech is that someone has to define it. And that’s a big problem, because hate speech always ends up being the speech that YOU don’ t want to hear. And it’s very difficult to define it (?????) I also think that.. when you watch people who are really ideologically possessed, (????) Mostly, what you hear is noise… Because.. there isn’t much difference… …between the way they think and noise. There’s nothing. (Cheers and applause) You know, there’s nothing about it that’s the least bit individual. You can’t talk to someone who’s (?????) Guy: Shame on the sound quality of your megaphone! The people in the activists’ classes, y’know they learn to memorize ten… …rather appalling statements. And learn how to make noise cause that actually constitutes (?????) advanced civilized discourse into making it positive and pertinent in the world. And this room, this room are being done a disservice by the educational institution. So the other thing I would really– The thing that I would recommend too, is to keep your head. There’s absolutely no reason to get upset about any of this, alright? It doesn’t matter. I’ve got (garbled) trans-people (?????) people, and I’m not in any danger of being silent. “You are silencing his voice!” You really wanna make sure that you don’t let people who are (provoking them to become stupid?) It’s a big mistake, because a lot of you who are protesting… …and they’re theoretically trying to make the world a better place are trying to provoke a very negative response. You don’t want to be the ones to give them what they want. It’s a big mistake. Y’know, when I was… When I was at the free speech rally in Toronto. You know a lot of people have watched that online now. And it got pretty tense and if anybody that was there to promote free speech had made a mistake, and had done something aggressive or violent and had it been filmed and broadcast on Youtube… All of this would have turned out very differently. And so when you are in a situation like this… You really have to watch what you do, because what you do can be magnified greatly and cause a rippling effect out into the broader society. And you wouldn’t wanna be here because you’re aiming at trouble. You don’t wanna be the first person that brings that about. “No freedom is no freedom at all!” I guess part of the question, too, is what do these people think they’re protesting? I mean, because… the name calling so far doesn’t really have much of an effect on me, cause I don’t regard it as even remotely true. First of all, they’re very careless with their use of words… You know, like transphobe… Skip to 13:00, just chanting… So, I guess the other thing to think about is that none of the other panelists came, so they were intimidated into not being here. Background guy: The others did not participate, because of your reputation, there’s is no organized harassment campaign… Jordan: But, I suppose in some sense… Background guy: There is no organized harassment campaign… Megaphone: “Go home Peterson, go home” I suppose (unintelligible)… shut down. It isn’t shut down at all. (something something “like I said” something) (Cannot make out this part) I do really take exception to the idea that there’s a particular group or groups that I’m opposed to because I don’t believe that to be the case at all. I’ve dealt with all sorts of people in my life. Audience member: He’s saying that he doesn’t oppose groups. Listen to him! He loves you. You see, they’re probably confused with someone they hate. And the question is who do they hate, right? That’s really the question, and also why? And that’s also something I’m trying to figure out, y’know. Protestors: “You are not a victim!” That’s true, I’m not a victim. Well, you know, one thing I do know from what I’ve studied of political science… And psychology… is that once you start to regard yourself as a victim, you’ll look for a perpetrator… And as soon as you look for a perpetrator you’re looking for something or someone to hurt. It’s really not a good thing. I have a student who had toured the mass murder camps in Eastern Europe (?). She was there during the, uh… breakup of Yugoslavia… She did a… she wrote the article on the precursors to genocide, and… …one of the predictors for the predilection of mass movements to have genocidal intent… …is identification of part of the population as the victim. And the identification of the other part of the population as perpetrators. And as soon as you divide the world into victims and perpetrators… It can allow the parts of them hidden in the darkness to come forward, and parade around as if they’re being virtuous. A really successful identifier of (???) evil is… One of the things I wanna try to teach my students is that… If you wanna look for what’s wrong with the world… You should start by looking at what’s wrong with you. Cause you got… There’s plenty of things at home, y’know. The other thing I’ve learned too about what you can do to try to make things better is try working on the things that you have… under your control, right in front of you. One of the things that’s really nice about that is that if you’re trying to fix things, in… a humble way, at home, for yourself, for your family… …is that you don’t get to come out in front of a bunch of people and claim that you’re virtuous, y’know. It’s sad and it’s cheap. And it’s sad because there are a lot better things to do. And it’s cheap because it’s a hell of a lot easier than doing real work, y’know. You can tell by the level of the dialogue the amount of thought that’s gone into it. When you hear people yelling names and using obscenities… You know, this is funny. The part of your brain that you use to utter obscenities is the same part of the brain that monkeys use to simplify the emergence of a predator in the wild. It’s a completely different neurological circuit and it’s really primordial. And it comes out… We seem to be having microphone problems (????) it’s not working, too bad. Can you guys hear me at all in the back? I guess I could tell you a little bit about why I opposed Bill C-16… Part of the reason I opposed Bill C-16 to begin with is because I took issue with the manner in which the politics of identity are being plugged into our lab. Hello! Hello! Hey, hey, hey! I’ve got an idea. They’re gonna come in here and clear the room because of everybody standing on the sides. So what I would recommend, perhaps, is that… all of you who want to hear me talk… Leave, go outside. And I’ll come outside to talk to you. When faced by unreasonable opposition It’s best to let the unreasonable opposition speak Because they manifest themselves as unreasonable and then everyone can see it. So that’s part of the reason that you want free speech, right? You want people… Well, at least they’re at the back of the crowd this time. Audience member: “Everyone, come on let’s, uh.. let’s sort of insulate Dr. Peterson.” “Security’s not helping.” Dr. Peterson: Security can’t help, you know… Well, and no matter what they do, they’re wrong. If they make things go on, then they’re wrong and if they intervene then they’re, um… they cause trouble for any students no matter who the students are or what they’re doing, they’re wrong then too. So, (Yelling outside of the audience) Audience member: “No, guys, guys… Don’t get into fights. Listen guys, just everyone…” He’s just about hoarse; he’s going to take care of himself. Alright so I can tell you a little bit about why.. I was opposed to Bill C-16. And there’s a variety of reasons. I think the most important one is that.. it’s the first piece of Canadian legislation that’s ever been put forward.. That actually requires people to use a particular set of words. Now, there is other legislation that does govern to some degree what you can’t say. So for example, you can’t incite a crime… and that’s perfectly logical, that’s a reasonable restriction on free speech. But we’ve never had a piece of legislation ever that would require you to use a certain kind of vocabulary. And regardless of what that vocabulary is and the fact that it happens to be about transgender terminology hypothetically is almost beside the point as far as I’m concerned. This all focused on this particular issue and it had to focus on some issue, but this isn’t the issue that’s at the bottom of it. It’s just that complex things manifest themselves in very particular locations, and this just happens to be the location that this is manifesting itself in. Now the other thing that I didn’t really like and still don’t like about Bill C-16 is the surrounding policies, that are basically part of what it’s embedded in.. that were produced by the Ontario Human Rights Commission which I think is an appallingly dangerous organization, not least because they’re terribly muddy thinkers. And so… One of the things that’s happened.. that I think is reprehensible from a psychological perspective.. is that in Ontario, and soon likely in Canada, we’re going to write into law an idea of identity that’s just radically insufficient. So let me give you some examples So the way Bill C-16 is formulated, if you take into account the surrounding policy documents, there’s a proposition embedded in the law and that is that biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual preference vary independently. And the fact of the matter is that’s not true.. and you can demonstrate it very straightforwardly. The first thing you observe is that virtually everyone whose biological sex is either male or female has a gender identity of male or female. In fact, the.. the people who don’t fit into that category.. they exist, there’s no doubt about that, but they’re a very small minority. And the reason I’m pointing out that they’re a small minority is because it makes the claim those things vary independently false. And then you know too that, most of the people have a binary, biological sex and a binary, gender identity also present themselves in a matter that’s the same as their gender identity and their biological sex. And so that’s another indication of the non-independence of the three layers of purported identity. And finally, you can see too that the vast majority of people, for example.. men who are biologically male, who present themselves as male.. Who identify as male, who present themselves as male are also heterosexual.. 95 percent of them, perhaps 98 percent of them, depends on the statistics. Audience Member: “Excuse me sir, sorry I just had a question.. I believe it was explicitly stated to me that you said you’d be staying off of those topics..” “We’re going to want to hear your views on free speech, but we don’t want to hear your views on gender identity and stuff. I thought it was made clear to you-” Audience: “We’re no longer in that event now.” Audience Member: “At the same time, I’d appreciate it if you just stayed on topic.” Audience: “I think he is on topic! I think he is.” Anyways, um.. the reason that I think that this is a problem is because it’s written into the law… And the law isn’t the place where you debate those sorts of things, you don’t instantiate a particular philosophy into the law. Especially one that’s predicated on what I would say… It’s absolutely incoherent.. And not only that, even if you’re thinking about it.. from the perspective of someone, say who.. who’s homosexual. One of the arguments that people who are gay very frequently use is that there’s actually a biological underpinning to their homosexuality. Are we going to dispense with that? Well what happens if we dispense with that? What happens if we dispense with the idea that there’s a biological underpinning to homosexuality? Does that mean that it could just be changed? And what are people going to do with that piece of information except try to change it? The people who are.. who’ve been fighting for homosexual rights for the last thirty years very frequently made the case that the reason that the rights were necessary was because there was a reality to the condition. Well I’m not arguing for that or against it.. What I’m saying is that the law the way it’s currently constituted makes arguments like that completely invalid. It does the same thing with transsexuality, which we don’t know enough about, to.. we don’t know enough about it to determine say its manner of causal origin. Now it looks to me like, like.. I think it’s premature to exclude a biological component, especially because of what we know about how.. gender idenity and biological sex are instantiated in utero. So we know for example that… That the standard human fetus has a female morphology. It doesn’t matter whether it’s XX or XY from a chromosonal perspective. And then it’s transformed into a male morphology… with testosterone.. Right, so- So the reason I’m telling you this is because… Protesters Yelling: “Go home, Go home!” Audience Member: “Save your breath, we’ve got all night.” The reason why that I tell you this.. is because… (chanting) Shut down Peterson! Audience Member: “We love you Peterson” There’s no reason, there’s no reason whatsoever.. to presume that the laws that are being put in place.. To protect the people, that these laws are supposed to protect, will do anything that remotely resembles protecting them. And as I mentioned when we were in the hall, when I talked to you about the letters that I received from transsexual people, they’re very terrified about all of this. Because the vast majority of them want to be as invisible as everyone else wants to be. And all this does is draw negative attention to them. They’re also not very happy about the fact.. that they’ve been represented noisily by people who have absolutely no right to speak for them. One of the things we really have to get over, and in a serious way, Is the idea that just because you are talking to someone black or white or transsexual or homosexual, that you’re speaking to a member of a homogeneous tribe And that the opinion that they happen to have is the opinion that all those who are like them share. There’s nothing that’s more racist than that assumption, right? Because it means that they don’t even know a damn thing about you except the most boring part of your identity And I can predict everything that you are and everything that you think! Well, that’s a terrible thing to believe! And it’s also patently untrue! You know, there’s no reason to assume that any group of people who don’t fit into traditional society for some way Are any more homogeneous in their general makeup and their political views than any other group. In fact, all the evidence suggests precisely the contrary. And it’s another thing I really don’t like about identity politics. Because it’s really predicated on the idea that the only thing that’s important about you, is what’s most obvious when a person looks at you. That’s an appalling proposition. Audience Member: “…your perspective as a professor of academia about censoring these topics and about why it’s important to be able to have this discussion…” “You see right now, the people are trying to shut down your discussion.” Well I can tell you.. I can tell you a little about why… these attempts to shut people down are being made because you need to know this. As far as I’ve been able to determine.. this kind of protest is an expression of a philosophy that’s grounded partly in Postmodernism and partly in Marxism. Now, the Postmodern element is basically this: there’s no such thing as genuine individual identity. What there is is group identity, and you like it or not only have the interests of your group. And the whole world is nothing but a battleground.. between groups of different interests. There’s no dialogue, there’s no possibility of talking between the groups. It’s just a power stage where combat has to take place. And so the reason that speakers with whom the radical Postmodernists and the Marxists don’t agree are denied a platform Is because those people do not believe from a philosophical position that dialogue can bring consensus. And all that’s left if you forgo that particular principle, is this! And this is only where it starts! You know, the fact is that you’re all pretty damn civilized, and thank God for that! Because if there are enough fools in the crowd, especially those who are intent on violence, This would turn out very differently, and we do not want to go down that pathway! It’s a big mistake! We’ve been down that pathway many, many times. Audience Member: “Sir, if the consensus was against-” I would certainly not conform to a consensus that was against my belief, merely because it was a consensus. Often the group is wrong The question was: “If there was a consensus against my beliefs, would I forgo them?” And the answer to that would be well first, it would depend on what my conscience said. What are we going to do, assume that the consensus is correct? The Nazis had a consensus, right? The individual has a conscience! And you have to know when the group is.. has made a mistake and has become nothing but a madly chanting mob! In which case, what you should do is detach yourself from the madly chanting mob And act like you’ve got a spine. Audience Member: “You’ve talked a lot in your personality class about confronting your shadow and integrating your shadow” “Do you find that people who care less about what other people think and care more about their conscience have integrated their shadow maybe more than people who care more about (???) than others” Can you hear me at all, you guys? Okay, so there was a question.. The question was stemming from my personality class. Do I think that people who are willing to abide by their conscience are those who’ve integrated their shadow? And I would say yes, because you have to be a bit of a monster to stand up to the crowd, right? If you’re too concerned whether or not people like you, and if you’re too avoidant of conflict, then you’re going to cave at the first sign of pressure. And you don’t want to do that, because if you let people stop you from moving forward, you just end up being someone who’s stopped. And if you’re someone who’s stopped, you’ve got no life in you. And that’s no good. So you have to get tough, but you have to get tough in a way that’s controlled, right? It has to be controlled. Because otherwise you’re the puppet of your worst impulses, and that’s a terrible thing to be. Other questions? Audience Member: “So, would you have said if we called the police and had them removed, would that have been a failure.. on our part?” The question was: “Had we called the police and had them removed, would’ve that been a failure?” And I think the answer to that is.. There’s no point in it. There’s no reason to assume that this is a bad thing. It’s noisy, and it’s annoying.. but that’s fine. You’ve got to let things, you’ve gotta follow what you believe to be true, right? And don’t worry about it, and then let things happen.. And see what happens. Because it’s perfectly possible that if you’re trying to do the right thing and you’re trying to speak properly, that whatever happens around you is a partial consequence of that and that it’s a good thing. So we’ll see, we’ll have weeks after this event to analyse its consequences. And so far, all of those that are.. of you that are there to listen to me talk, you’re peaceful and reasonable And you got a chance to show that to hundreds of thousands of people. So, good! This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Audience Member: “How do we get these people to understand that dialogue leads to consensus?” How do we get these people to understand that dialogue leads to consensus? You cannot make people who do not listen, listen. You can’t. They have to decide to listen on their own. But you do that by listening! You show them, you engage them in dialogue yourself and continue that consensus among you. You lead by example, because there’s no getting through this. It’s an ideological wall.. and the harder you push against it, the larger it will become. Don’t worry about it.. but don’t, don’t get pushed around. And don’t let people indoctrinate you. Audience Members: “Do you think there’s a liberal bias on campuses in Canada, and if so do you think that causes (debates?)?” There’s clearly.. There’s clearly a liberal/left bias on campuses. The documentation is very clear.. if you, if you go online and watch Jonathan Haidt’s videos, okay. He explains it. Partly the reason for that is that.. people who are higher in openness, a trait, are more likely to go to university and into academia. So there is some trait reasons, but over the last 30 years, it’s become overwhelmingly left wing. Audience Member: “How do you get around that as a student if you have an unpopular opinion.” Make your clubs.. You know, you’re not under the control of the professors at university. You’re here to educate yourself, and some professors will help, and others will get in the way. But sometimes they can educate you by getting in the way. See you have an identity as a university student.. You’ve got four years to turn yourself into an educated person. And the resources are here, so it doesn’t matter if they are helping or hindering you, it matters what you decide to do. Audience Member: “What do you think should be done about indoctrination classes?” The question is, “What to do about the classes of indoctrination that teach this sort of thing?” And the answer is, don’t enroll in them. Don’t enroll in them, it’s already falling apart You know that 80 percent of humanities papers have zero citations No one reads them! And so we also have no idea how widespread this sort of thing is, but my suspicious are that it’s maybe two or three percent of the population. A very tiny minority, but very well organized and very noisy. And so the other thing you have to do.. if you stand for reason and want educations, organize yourselves that way and tell the administration. So, say what you have to say And in classes where people push doctrines on you, get your damn arguments together and push back You know, but you have to be more articulate, and more well read, and more better educated than the people against whom you’re pushing. But that’s your job at universities, become articulate and there’s nothing more powerful than someone who’s articulate. And no one ever says that at universities Go into the libraries and read great people, write so that you’ll learn how to think, and talk so that you learn how to speak. It’ll make you unbelievably powerful, and that is what university is for. I can’t understand why you’re not told that! Nothing more powerful than articulate speech! Nothing! Audience member: “Do you think there’s a constant back and forth between far right and-” So the question is, I’ve.. I’ve made a point that it’s a good idea to let your conscience guide you. And the question is what happens if your conscience guides you in a bad direction. And that can happen. I would say: Look, if you want to rely on your conscience, and you want to rely on your sense of meaning that guides you You have to make sure that you don’t tell lies and muddy yourself up with deceit. Because you pathologize your being and then it can’t speak to you properly So if you want to use an internal guidepost to orient yourself through life, you have to be honest Because otherwise you’re going to follow something that’s sick, and that’s a terrible mistake. So the reason why you don’t lie isn’t because there’s a rule against it, the reason why you don’t lie is because you’ll make yourself pathological if you do And then you won’t be able to trust yourself.. And if you can’t trust yourself, well then you can have your political party and trust that, or you can have nothing. And neither of those things are a reasonable replacement. Look guys, we should stop. It went really well. (chanting) No more Peterson