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We normally think of political correctness as a canon of words and attitudes that are arbitrarily forbidden in polite (read Left-liberal) company. It comes in many forms, but in Canada it’s more and more becoming codified in law.
As Dr. Jordan Peterson (and those observing his plight) have learned, the PC Game now has legal teeth and real-world consequences for those who don’t want to play.
Dr. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and a clinical psychologist. He recently posted a series of lectures on his YouTube channel with titles like “Professor Against Political Correctness,” “Fear and the Law,” and “The University of Toronto Requests My Silence.” These lectures were delivered after the University’s HR department mandated that “trans people” be called by of the newfangled pronouns like zie, hir, ey, em, eir, they, co, xe, to name but a sample of the absurdist verbiage that has been coughed up by activists.
The good professor is not having any of it.
And he’s putting his job on the line—and whatever other punishments that may be in store if he is hauled before the Ontario Human Rights Commission (sounds cuddly, don’t it?). For if Bill C-16 is passed in Canada at the federal level, “gender identity” and “gender expression” join the List of the Prohibited and constitute actionable grounds of discrimination. New York City already has a similar law. Those guilty of “mis-gendering” must pay a $250,000 fine. The Big Apple recognizes 31 gender identities, by the way.
But this isn’t merely about pronouns. What’s at stake is whether the government or any other institution should be allowed to control and proscribe human speech, especially when the phrasing of the controllers are vague and impossible to interpret consistently, let alone police equitably. When Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini sought a more “virile language” for his machismo vision of the Italian nation, he required the comradely voi (the plural “y’all”) for Lei, the feminine form. Under his rule, voi was obligatory in schools, public offices, movie subtitles, radio shows, and public ceremonies. Not surprisingly, Italians dropped the fear-based nonsense and reverted to the traditional Lei when the hated dictator fell from power.
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