The Spectator in Britain has a very interesting article about Prof. Jordan Peterson, one of the seminal figure in the conflict over transgender issues. Here's an excerpt.
At the University of Toronto, after receiving two written warnings, [Peterson] has been in danger of losing his job following his announcement that he would refuse to use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty who don’t identify with their biological gender, to the fury of radical transgender activists. The use of such pronouns is mandatory under a recently instituted Canadian law, Bill C-16. Peterson rejects the injunction on free speech grounds. ‘I’m not going to cede linguistic territory to post-modernist neo-Marxists,’ he says. He has expressed the view that he might use the preferred gender pronoun of a particular person, if asked by that individual, rather than having the decision foisted on him by the state.
. . .
Free speech is a core value for him — the core value — and one that is becoming increasingly pressing ... That elements of the left have begun to label free speech as somehow a ‘right-wing’ value is particularly rattling (although such censorious thinking has a long history in radical left ideology).
‘If I can’t say what I think, then I don’t get to think, and if I can’t think then I can’t orient myself in the world, and if I can’t do that, then I’m going to fall into a pit and take everyone else with me,’ Peterson says.
Peterson has been saddled by some of his critics with the label ‘alt-right’, which he views as a ridiculous slander. He describes himself as a ‘classic British liberal’ who makes those on both the left and right uncomfortable. He supports socialised health care and the liberalisation of drug use, and is libertarian on most social issues.
‘Alt-right’ is certainly one of the most inaccurate pigeonholes you could imagine cramming him into. His heroes include Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Orwell and Solzhenitsyn. He is a Christian, but more on the pattern of existential Christians such as Søren Kierkegaard or Paul Tillich than anything to be found in the Midwest Bible belt.
Peterson’s thought-crime is that he disagrees with the view of transgender activists that gender is a social construct and has no grounding in biology (although he is not opposed to transgender rights in general). So why does his right to free speech trump a transgender activist’s right not to be offended? Why not just keep his thoughts to himself?
‘Because thoughts aren’t like that,’ he says. ‘People mostly think by talking. Not only do they think by talking, but they correct their thoughts by talking. If you deprive people of the right to think, then you doom them to suffering. You doom their stupidity of its right to die. You should allow your thoughts to be cast away into the fire — instead of you.’
. . .
‘The humanities in the universities have become almost incomprehensibly shallow and corrupt in multiple ways,’ he says. ‘They don’t rely on science because they are not scientifically educated. This is true particularly in sociology, where they mask their complete ignorance of science by claiming that science is just another mode of knowing and that it’s only privileged within the structure of the oppressive Eurocentric patriarchy. It’s appalling. We’re not having an intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation.
‘Students, instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from them by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power.’
There's much more at the link.
I've been reading about Prof. Peterson since YouTube and Google tried to shut down his accounts, apparently because of his political incorrectness. They were restored after a public outcry, but if the left considers him dangerous enough to try to silence him, I think he's probably worth listening to. His YouTube channel contains a lot of material, particularly the 70-odd videos in a series he titles "Professor against Political Correctness". Recommended.
As one example, here's Prof. Peterson in February 2017, speaking about postmodernism, the philosophy that underlies most current liberal and progressive thought. A transcript of his talk may be found here.