The View From Here – We should not allow vital, structural changes to our language in the name of political correctness

Tom Henihan
Because of his refusal to address each student by whatever pronoun he, she, hir, xe or ze insist he use to identified them, Professor Jordan Peterson has stirred controversy, eliciting anger from both the University of Toronto administration and many U of T students.

Last month, Peterson posted three videos on YouTube outlining his objections to federal Bill C-16, which proposes an amendment to the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code “to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.”

In one of the YouTube videos, Peterson denounced the use of gender-neutral pronouns, infuriating activists and the academic establishment.

Peterson received two letters of reprimand from the university, one of which was from the dean of the faculty of arts and science.

If the Liberals’ Bill C-16 passes, what is now a problem at the University of Toronto could quickly become an issue at high schools, the work place and so on.

In any civilized society, being treated with respect and acceptance should be an inherent expectation in all dealings.

However, there should be no expectation of special treatment, giving people their own lexicon of freshly minted pronouns to choose from and a law allowing them to bully others into conforming to their agenda.

Universities have become environments where the most asinine ideas flourish.

The very places where holding opposing positions should be part of the dynamic of intellectual inquiry, where resistance to arbitrary ideologies should be encouraged are now the most cowardly and compliant of environments.

Run by self-interested individuals with a siege mentality, universities have willingly sold their autonomy to corporations such as Coca Cola, Apple and IBM and allow themselves to be bullied by special interest groups.

To disagree with someone or to refuse to conform to his or her position is not to discriminate against that person.

Every individual is different from the next: we have different political affiliations, different religious beliefs, we hold different perspectives and preferences on an infinite variety of issues.

Considering how diverse we are, it is reasonable to assume that no one person feels fully represented by all social conventions.

Typically, instead of insisting that society adjust itself to our full accommodation, we absorb a little adversity and behave like adults.

Jordan Peterson is right in refusing to use these freshly coined, gender-neutral pronouns.

Though relatively benign on the surface they create a seismic shift in how we identify each other and how we use the language.

Political correctness is a corrosive, vacuous conceit that relentlessly insists on applying a topical balm over manufactured wounds.

The self-ordained missionaries promoting political correctness are not concerned with the integrity of language, how vital language is to our experience and our freedom. They couldn’t care less.

Political correctness has no soul; its mission is not to inspire respect for others. Its mission is to bully everyone into compliance regardless of what others may feel or believe.

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