“I recently resigned from my position as full tenured professor at the University of Toronto,” Jordan Peterson wrote in a bombshell op-ed for the National Post last week.
The rockstar psychologist’s fame long ago outgrew the halls of Canada’s oldest college, where he has researched and lectured since the late 1990s in spite of every slur and scandal.
“I had envisioned teaching and researching at the U of T, full time, until they had to haul my skeleton out of my office,” he writes. “I loved my job.” Nevertheless, Peterson’s title will soon be downgraded to professor emeritus — and how long he lasts in that role is uncertain, judging from his rationale for stepping down.
If the legacy press has been your main lens on Jordan Peterson, you might assume that he’s quitting after one too many pranks or personal attacks. But if you’ve followed the man more closely, you’ll know he has thought in great depth about the decision.
“The appalling ideology of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity is demolishing education and business,” he opens. And yes, Peterson deliberately jumbles the acronym to achieve his preferred spelling: DIE. These three words, now heard in classrooms and boardrooms across North America, have quickly become the Holy Trinity of wokeness.
Put simply, this is what DIE has done to academia, in the words of Peterson:
We are now at the point where race, ethnicity, “gender,” or sexual preference is first, accepted as the fundamental characteristic defining each person … and second, is now treated as the most important qualification for study, research and employment.
How have they driven Peterson from his post? First, he says, DIE is killing the career prospects of some of his brightest students. The students who excel and have the correct sex, skin colour and sexual predilections are fine. But those who deserve to be hired and are white, straight and male mostly graduate to a dead-end road.
“I am academic persona non grata,” Peterson adds, “because of my unacceptable [read: anti-woke] philosophical positions.” For all these reasons, he feels that his job has been rendered morally untenable. “How can I accept prospective researchers and train them in good conscience knowing their employment prospects to be minimal?”
Beyond the practical consequences for his students, Peterson is labouring under the weight of DIE’s deception. While he doesn’t mention Solzhenitsyn, Peterson’s philosophical father clearly haunts the decision he has made. Especially this famous quote: “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.” Writes Peterson,
All my craven colleagues must craft DIE statements to obtain a research grant. They all lie (excepting the minority of true believers) and they teach their students to do the same. And they do it constantly, with various rationalisations and justifications, further corrupting what is already a stunningly corrupt enterprise.
The problem is greater still for Peterson, since woke ideology has also stretched its tentacles into the accreditation boards of Canada’s graduate clinical psychology training programs. Henceforth, these gatekeepers of the profession will refuse to accredit any program that doesn’t have a “social justice” (read: woke) orientation.
Moreover, Canada has just outlawed so-called “conversion therapy”. Peterson warns that it will therefore become “exceedingly risky for clinicians to do anything ever but agree always and about everything with their clients”. It may even have “doomed the practice of clinical psychology,” he mourns, “which always depended entirely on trust and privacy”.
Rounding off his explanation, Peterson posts an extensive quote from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who curiously weighed in on wokeness late last year. Putin’s words are worth reading in full:
The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already.
After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones — all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.
This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices — which we, fortunately, have left, I hope — in the distant past. The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past — such as Shakespeare — are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race.
In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Western institutions collapsing in on themselves by embracing a toxic ideology we fought a 45-year Cold War to defeat? No thanks, says JBP — I’ll be pouring more of my time and talent elsewhere.
He has a lot to give. Academia has a lot to lose. And the world has a lot to gain from the resignation of Jordan Peterson.