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Friday, April 7, 2017

John Robson: Jordan Peterson & the suppression of dissent by the left in academia

...Though not a household name among the general public or the smart set until last fall, Jordan Peterson has long been highly respected by his colleagues. He taught at Harvard for six years before coming to the University of Toronto nearly two decades ago.

He is not merely frequently published, he is frequently cited, an increasingly important distinction given modern academic trends. And he has a strong history of successful applications for grants including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC, or “Shirk” to insiders”) giving him its largest grant ever to a psychologist back in 2012. This time, my colleague Christie Blatchford notes, he was turned down by SSHRC for money to continue that same research. Blatchford adds that it’s his first-ever rejection for a federal research grant. Moreover this application was rated as rubbish. Whatever can have happened?

Well, last year he openly said he would not call people zhi or zher and warned that by including “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Canadian Human Rights Code and Criminal Code the government was threatening freedom of speech. Naturally his university, a bastion of academic freedom and fearless inquiry, told him to shut his face because he was causing fear among the transgendered, genderfluid, genderqueer, questioning and shouting. And now SSHRC has suddenly decided his previously brilliant research is a load of dingoes’ kidneys.

Coincidence? Some say no, thinking the turning down of Peterson’s grant as soon as he spoke out against the sexual radical juggernaut was a feature of the process not a bug. But a spokesperson for SSHRC soothingly recited talking points about merit-based review and how “past funding is not a guarantee of further funding.”

Sure. Anyone might go from internationally renowned genius to crass pumpkinhead at any moment. Furthermore, the spokesperson insisted, the assessment mechanism is “a transparent, in-depth and effective way to allocate public research funds.” To right-thinking people, it goes without saying. The first rule of dissent suppression is, don’t talk about dissent suppression...

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