© Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 https://bit.ly/3GqkefN https://bit.ly/3numB8M

A ‘prik’ a ‘thing’ and the accusations levelled at Dr. Jordan Peterson

Professor Jordan Peterson is currently facing the possibility of having his licence revoked by the Ontario College of Psychologists who are investigating accusations against him of various forms of professional misconduct. 

Peterson says that ‘The College” has been “levying accusations and conducting investigations” about him since 2017, while pointing out that no such investigations or accusations took place in the twenty years he operated as a clinical psychologist before his rise to public awareness. 

Meanwhile, Canadian media reported that the “Coalition of Ottawa community groups wants local Jordan Peterson event cancelled”. 

The manager of communications and advocacy for the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity – one of the groups attempting to cancel Peterson’s shows  – is quoted as saying “As we approach the one-year anniversary of the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy,’ the last thing we need is a spokesperson of the far-right taking centre stage in our city,”. 

It seems like the intellectually disingenuous tossing  around of the much abused label of “far right” is also in vogue across the Atlantic. 

36 other organisations have signed an open letter calling for the cancellation of the event including, Council of Canadians, Horizon Ottawa, the Centretown Community Health Centre, the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women and the Ottawa Historical Fencing Society. 

As part of the review process of the Ontario College of Psychologists Peterson is being ‘required’ to attend media retraining courses for  which daughter Mikhaila says he must pay 225 Canadian dollars (154) per hour “for an unspecified amount of time”. 

At the end of this process The College will decide whether Peterson should be allowed to keep his licence. 

Earlier this month he released the file of documents detailing the accusations made against him with some of the content seeming rather petty and peevish in this writer’s opinion. 

He took to twitter saying “About a dozen people from all over the world submitted complaints about my public statements on Twitter and Rogan over a four year period” continuing that this “dozen” was “out of the 15 million who follow me on social media” and that it was being claimed that he “harmed” people other than the complainants themselves with his “views”. 

One complainant who claims to have been a client of Dr. Peterson – although in his notes attached to the relevant documentation Peterson firmly denies this – accuses him of ‘encouraging people to take their own lives’ while a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. (Episode #1769)

Now, as someone who has been following Jordan Peterson for several years, and having watched hours of his various lectures and speeches, the prospect of him encouraging anyone to take their own life quite frankly seems bizarre

There just seems to be a rather unbridgeable gap between advising people to clean up their rooms and saying they should end their own lives.

Of course, if a professional psychologist did in fact encourage such action that would indeed be an offence of the greatest severity, but it seems certain that this is not the case here. 

Reading through the documentation, it is unclear which remark in particular is evidence of encouragement to take one’s own life,  but another accusation, this time of Peterson allegedly ‘making jokes relating to suicide’, was levelled after he replied to a tweet by Roger Palfree, a professor in the Medicine department at McGill University. 

Peterson replied to one of Palfree’s tweets in which he complains about overpopulation and how, in his own words, “a large human population completely overlook the huge loss of specie ecosystems resulting from our self-absorbed attention”. 

Peterson simply respond, “You’re free to leave at any point”

As we well know, Twitter is a bastion of one-liner retorts, and as those go,  Peterson’s was probably the kind of tongue-in-cheek retort that a Tweet essentially about how humans are destroying the planet could likely deserve. 

Another complainant who Peterson again claims is falsely posing as a former client of his enquiries “whether Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has violated College Standards and Regulations”, on the same Joe Rogan podcast.  

The complainant states that they were unable to fact check the relevant material to support Peterson’s arguments but states that they are “unclear whether Dr. Peterson has suspended his clinical practice at times when his own mental health and addictions issues were sufficient so as to render his practicing unethical.” , with reference made to an article in The Atlantic relating to an episode where Peterson reportedly became addicted to benzodiazepines.

The complainant accuses Peterson of being “disinhibited, tangential, circumlocutory, and grandiose”, adding that as a psychologist they were “appalled by Dr. Peterson’ behaviour and the impunity with which he feels that he can pontificate on areas well outside of his areas of competence.”

While the side effects of withdrawal from prescription pharmaceutical drugs is in some cases no laughing matter, Peterson’s career and media presence were halted during this episode. He reportedly withdrew from his private practice as a clinical psychologist sometime in 2017. 

Peterson was also accused of professional misconduct for allegedly calling former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gerald Butts a ‘prik’. 

On Peterson’s use of  “prik” – I’m taking the liberty of assuming it was intended to be read the same as the word readers will perhaps be familiar with that usually comes with a ‘c’ attached between the ‘i’ and ‘k’. 

An “anonymous caller” complained that Peterson was “using the title of psychologist as a means of conveying harmful information to the public.” The caller also referenced Dr. Peterson’s “use of language” towards Prime Minister Justin Truseau and Gerald Butts as “unprofessional, embarrassing, threatening, abusive and harassing.”

I’m sure Mr. Butts didn’t enjoy being called a ‘prik’, but “embarrassing, threatening, abusive and harassing.” seem like an exaggeration, although the remark may indeed have been unprofessional.  

He is also accused of calling Ottawa city councillor Catherine McKenny, who uses ‘they/them pronouns’,  a ‘thing’. 

Another instance of ‘wrong think’ was reported when Peterson tweeted ​​“Nazis; white supremacists. These simply do not exist in Canada. There’s no culture of such things in Canada, political or otherwise.” 

This seems to be more of a political opinion than a conveyance of “harmful information”. 

Dr. Peterson’s criticism of Canada’s draconian lockdown policies also came under fire after he was reported for tweeting, “Enough already. Time to stop. Stop the masks. Stop the lockdowns. Stop the petty power-mad hysteria. Leave people alone and let them get on with their lives.” 

This looks like a clear example of how questioning government policy and the media consensus is seen as ‘dangerous’ – I’m sure that much like everyone and their granny in Ireland, he must be summarily dismissed as  ‘far right’ and a ‘threat’ for daring to question the status quo. 

Who is threatened by advice on concepts like how to take responsibility for your life or how to orientate yourself towards success? Much of Peterson’s talks, interviews, lectures, and live shows focus on those very issues. 

Maybe it was his advice for young women that really rocked the boat: his suggestion that a career and financial stability don’t fill the void of a home empty of children as middle age approaches. Dangerous ideas to some perhaps.   

A tweet about Juno star actress Ellen Page, who legally changed her name to Elliot and had mastectomy surgery also led to Peterson having his Twitter account suspended until it was reinstated after billionaire Elon Musk took the reins. 

Peterson had said “Remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician.”

He later remarked on the negative effect seeing a Hollywood starlet like Page removing her breasts and showing off her surgically constructed  chest with its post surgery scars might have on impressionable teens. 

Concern of this nature for the wellbeing of minors experiences gender confusion being influenced in regards to irreversible surgeries at a time when so-called affirmation therapy is, in many cases, standard procedure seems to be a no-go. 

Yet another lockdown related accusation came as Peterson criticised Ottawa Police Chief, Steve Bell, after it was announced that he was “working with social services and Freedom Convoy protestors to have children removed from the area prior to any sort of police action.”

To the casual observer this sounds like a plan to forcibly round up the children of anti lockdown protestors before pouncing on their parents. 

Peterson questioned the ethics of such a proposal tweeting, “ “children removed” how, exactly? Why, exactly? By whom, exactly? Sent to where, exactly? And for how long, exactly? Think this through, Canadians. This is a bad decision.”

In the interests of keeping this piece within the bounds of readability in length (I dearly hope it’s otherwise readable), I will end with this next example. 

The documents released by Dr. Peterson will be attached should those interested in the case wish to peruse the allegations in their entirety. 

And now on to the case of Yumi Nu. Another allegation against Peterson is that he said that a plus size swimsuit model,  recently featured in Sports Illustrated,  was not beautiful. 

Here I was thinking that beauty was in the eye of the beholder, but apparently it is incumbent upon us to find people who are clinically overweight just as physically attractive as your average Victoria’s Secret model – that is before Victoria’s Secret ‘went woke’. 

It’s important to remember – regardless of what ones personal opinions on the ethics of swimsuit modelling is, we all know it’s not really about the swim wear –  that a model ‘elevated’ to the ranks of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is meant as a sort of aspirational Venus de Milo figure.

“Sorry not beautiful.” he said, followed by “No amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that”. 

The point to be made here seems to be that opinions, such as those expressed by Dr. Peterson,  are not ‘inappropriate’ or ‘harmful’  just because the dominant acceptable political narrative is not in agreement with them. 

In Canada, much like here at home in Ireland it would seem that having a different opinion,  and being bold enough to express it, is seen as evidence of maleficence as the far-right phantom looms across the icy geographical divide.  

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