At issue was controversial Bill C-16, passed by parliament the day before the debate.
In dispute was the implications of the gender provisions of Bill C-16 in the Canadian Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code. The controversy was unavoidable. If the intent of Bill C-16 was to increase society's tolerance and acceptance, why had it done the exact opposite?
Pofessor Jordan Peterson became the lightning rod of the entire controversy because he firmly believes that Bill C-16 imposes inappropriate restrictions on free speech and promoted what he viewed to be the kind of ideological conformity which is the precursor of the Orwellian nightmare.
His opponents demonized his opposition to compelled speech and betrayed a shocking degree of bigotry, ignorance and intolerance.
The two-against-one format of the U of T debate which was supposed to encourage thoughtful engagement proved to be a stage where Professor Jordan Peterson was vilified and bullied.
Lawyer, Brenda Cossman began by congratulating “all those faculty and students who are boycotting today’s event” and pronouncing absence as “also a very important form of speech.” That kind of disrespect is difficult for any decent person to fathom. The debate was for the purpose of encouraging an academic discussion on the matter and a serious exploration of the issues. If Brenda Cossman was not able to contribute, she should have made room for somebody who was qualified.
Her pre-debate comments are certainly insightful. According to Brenda Cossman, “Personally, I am not a big fan of hate speech laws. I worry that prosecutions under hate speech laws end up bringing more rather than less attention to the offending speech, and more often than not, turns the offensive speaker into a martyr. I would rather see words fought with words.”
In other words, Professor Jordan Peterson stood firm on principle. Brenda Cossman was a total hypocrite because, when given the opportunity to fight Peterson with words, she didn't have any. She preferred to recommend boycott and to heap insult, because, in her mind, her legal opinions were far superior to Peterson's understanding of the law. After all, she was the lawyer.
Consequently, she didn't show up to debate but to merely regurgitate the pre-debate views of Ontario Human Rights Code Chief Commissoner, Renu Mandhane.
Accoding to Ms. Mandhane, “The OHRC recognizes the right to freedom of expression under the Charter. However, lawmakers and courts have found that no right is absolute. Expression may be limited where it is hate speech under criminal law; or amounts to harassment, discrimination, or creates a poisoned environment under the Code.”
And that is evidently the basis of seeking to curtail professor Peterson's freedom of expression. In other words, if you disaagree with somebody, all you have to do is to "poison the environment”, demonize your opponent, call Renu Mandhane and lawyers like Brenda Cossman legitimize that process.
Ms. Mandhane further asserts the following, “Refusing to address a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity, or purposely misgendering, is discrimination when it takes place in a social area covered by the Code (employment, housing, and services like education).”
In other words, freedom of expression is domain specific, like a bomb shelter, which is so ludicrous, in my opinion, that it merits ridicule. I clearly understand the intent, but it should be encouraged, not legislated or mandated. Ms. Mandhane further asserts the following, “Universities are vital places for informed discussion, debate and disagreement, including debate about human rights. However, universities have the same positive obligations as other organizations to take all necessary steps to prevent and respond to discrimination and harassment, and avoid a poisoned environment.”
I agree, and providing an adequate education is not only the primary obligation of the university, but also the only acceptable manner to prevent and respond to discrimination and harassment. Moreover, a poisoned environment cannot possibly be avoided when people like professor Peterson are vilified and bullied
Ms. Mandhane further asserts the following, “OHRC policies provide guidance on how to understand and apply existing legal obligations. The OHRC does not require any particular gender-neutral pronoun. If in doubt, ask the person how they wish to be addressed. Use “they” if you don’t know. Or simply use their chosen name.”
When we justify vilification and bullying through "existing legal obligations" we have really gone off the deep end.
University professors are academics, not lawyers, and the epectation that they are supposed to act and think like lawyers is discriminatory. In particular, the term "legal obligation" is so fickle and imprecise in today's splintered environment that the current demands of the Ontario Human Rights Code are clearly impractical. In fact, they are fanning the flame of hatred.
In theory, "legal obligation" is circumscribed by the rule of law. In practice, it is either a meritorious legal argument or it is merely fickle and pretentious advocacy and the latter is evidently what Brenda Cossman is defending, because, by her own admission, she hates hate law and prefers to fight with words.
In my personal experience, lawyers always cite their alleged "legal obligation" when they seek to impose their arbitrary will. I am a 13 year survivor of this malignant practice and when it ends, my faith in both the judicial process and the Ontario Human Rights Code will vastly improve.
In the meantime, if you are in a university, learn from the debates of geniuses like Dr. Jordan Peterson. He summed up the entire effort to demonize him at the debate in a brief excerpt wherein he pleaded for inclusion versus bigotry. According to Dr. Jordan Peterson, the adversarial spirit is potentially destructive to "the logos" and he summed up the entire approach of his arrogant and close-minded opponents when he said (in reference to the adversarial spirit): "What I think right now is correct above all else and I have nothing whatsoever to learn."
And as the Inquisition proceeded, that is in fact the only thing that Jordan Peterson's opponents proved. They even condemned Jordan Peterson's "amateur videos", probably because Dr. Peterson will educate more people on that platform in one year than they will ever reach in an entire lifetime.
Truth generally lies in the coordination of antagonistice opinions and while Professor Jordan Peterson is still struggling to expand his knowledge, his opponents betray bigotry, hypocrisy and astounding ignorance.
Those who seek to turn the law into an orthodoxy that replaces objective and dispssionate reason fear freedom of expression, and that is why Professor Jordan Peterson is so violently opposed.
In my opinion, the bullies who have targeted professor Jordan Peterson prove that we are a reactionary, pretentious, ethically bankrupt culture fascinated with winning, power, violence and status, and the only way to effectively target discrimination is to focus not on the ideal outcome but on our own development, and when that is perfected, we will be able to lead by example.
Final thought; Why is Brenda Cossman's world an absolute mess.