Jordan Peterson: Why I am no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto
The appalling ideology of diversity, inclusion and equity is demolishing education and business
I recently resigned from my position as full tenured professor at the University of Toronto. I am now professor emeritus, and before I turned sixty. Emeritus is generally a designation reserved for superannuated faculty, albeit those who had served their term with some distinction. I had envisioned teaching and researching at the U of T, full time, until they had to haul my skeleton out of my office. I loved my job. And my students, undergraduates and graduates alike, were positively predisposed toward me. But that career path was not meant to be. There were many reasons, including the fact that I can now teach many more people and with less interference online. But here’s a few more:
First, my qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students (and I’ve had many others, by the way) face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers. This is partly because of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (my preferred acronym: DIE). These have been imposed universally in academia, despite the fact that university hiring committees had already done everything reasonable for all the years of my career, and then some, to ensure that no qualified “minority” candidates were ever overlooked. My students are also partly unacceptable precisely because they are my students. I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions. And this isn’t just some inconvenience. These facts rendered my job morally untenable. How can I accept prospective researchers and train them in good conscience knowing their employment prospects to be minimal?
Second reason: This is one of many issues of appalling ideology currently demolishing the universities and, downstream, the general culture. Not least because there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough (BIPOC: black, indigenous and people of colour, for those of you not in the knowing woke). This has been common knowledge among any remotely truthful academic who has served on a hiring committee for the last three decades. This means we’re out to produce a generation of researchers utterly unqualified for the job. And we’ve seen what that means already in the horrible grievance studies “disciplines.” That, combined with the death of objective testing, has compromised the universities so badly that it can hardly be overstated. And what happens in the universities eventually colours everything. As we have discovered.
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 rationalizations and justifications, further corrupting what is already a stunningly corrupt enterprise. Some of my colleagues even allow themselves to undergo so-called anti-bias training, conducted by supremely unqualified Human Resources personnel, lecturing inanely and blithely and in an accusatory manner about theoretically all-pervasive racist/sexist/heterosexist attitudes. Such training is now often a precondition to occupy a faculty position on a hiring committee.
Need I point out that implicit attitudes cannot — by the definitions generated by those who have made them a central point of our culture — be transformed by short-term explicit training? Assuming that those biases exist in the manner claimed, and that is a very weak claim, and I’m speaking scientifically here. The Implicit Association test — the much-vaunted IAT, which purports to objectively diagnose implicit bias (that’s automatic racism and the like) is by no means powerful enough — valid and reliable enough — to do what it purports to do. Two of the original designers of that test, Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, have said as much, publicly. The third, Professor Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard, remains recalcitrant. Much of this can be attributed to her overtly leftist political agenda, as well as to her embeddedness within a sub-discipline of psychology, social psychology, so corrupt that it denied the existence of left-wing authoritarianism for six decades after World War II. The same social psychologists, broadly speaking, also casually regard conservatism (in the guise of “system justification”) as a form of psychopathology.
Banaji’s continued countenancing of the misuse of her research instrument, combined with the status of her position at Harvard, is a prime reason we still suffer under the DIE yoke, with its baleful effect on what was once the closest we had ever come to truly meritorious selection. There are good reasons to suppose that DIE-motivated eradication of objective testing, such as the GRE for graduate school admission, will have deleterious effects on the ability of students so selected to master such topics as the statistics all social sciences (and medicine, for that matter) rely upon completely for their validity.
Furthermore, the accrediting boards for graduate clinical psychology training programs in Canada are now planning to refuse to accredit university clinical programs unless they have a “social justice” orientation. That, combined with some recent legislative changes in Canada, claiming to outlaw so-called “conversion therapy” (but really making it exceedingly risky for clinicians to do anything ever but agree always and about everything with their clients) have likely doomed the practice of clinical psychology, which always depended entirely on trust and privacy. Similar moves are afoot in other professional disciplines, such as medicine and law. And if you don’t think that psychologists, lawyers and other professionals are anything but terrified of their now woke governing professional colleges, much to everyone’s extreme detriment, you simply don’t understand how far this has all gone.
Just exactly what am I supposed to do when I meet a graduate student or young professor, hired on DIE grounds? Manifest instant skepticism regarding their professional ability? What a slap in the face to a truly meritorious young outsider. And perhaps that’s the point. The DIE ideology is not friend to peace and tolerance. It is absolutely and completely the enemy of competence and justice.
And for those of you who think that I am overstating the case, or that this is something limited in some trivial sense to the universities, consider some other examples: This report from Hollywood, cliched hotbed of “liberal” sentiment, for example, indicates just how far this has gone. In 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) embarked on a five-year plan (does that ring any historical bells?) “to diversify our organization and expand our definition of the best,” They did so in an attempt which included developing “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars,” to, hypothetically, “better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.” What fruit has this initiative, offspring of the DIE ideology, borne? According to a recent article, penned by Peter Kiefer and Peter Savodnik, but posted on former NY Times’ journalist Bari Weiss’s Common Sense website (and Weiss left the Times, because of the intrusion of radical left ideology into that newspaper, just as Tara Henley did recently, vis a vis the CBC): “We spoke to more than 25 writers, directors, and producers — all of whom identify as liberal, and all of whom described a pervasive fear of running afoul of the new dogma. … How to survive the revolution? By becoming its most ardent supporter. … Suddenly, every conversation with every agent or head of content started with: Is anyone BIPOC attached to this?”
And this is everywhere — and if you don’t see it, your head is either in the sand or shoved somewhere far more unmentionable. CBS, for example, has literally mandated that every writers’ room be at least 40 per cent BIPOC in 2021 (50 per cent in 2022).
We are now at the point where race, ethnicity, “gender,” or sexual preference is first, accepted as the fundamental characteristic defining each person (just as the radical leftists were hoping) and second, is now treated as the most important qualification for study, research and employment.
Need I point out that this is insane ? Even the benighted New York Times has its doubts. A headline from August 11, 2021: Are Workplace Diversity Programs Doing More Harm than Good? In a word, yes. How can accusing your employees of racism etc. sufficient to require re-training (particularly in relationship to those who are working in good faith to overcome whatever bias they might still, in these modern, liberal times, manifest) be anything other than insulting, annoying, invasive, high-handed, moralizing, inappropriate, ill-considered, counterproductive, and otherwise unjustifiable?
And if you think DIE is bad, wait until you get a load of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores . Purporting to assess corporate moral responsibility, these scores, which can dramatically affect an enterprise’s financial viability, are nothing less than the equivalent of China’s damnable social credit system, applied to the entrepreneurial and financial world. CEOs: what in the world is wrong with you? Can’t you see that the ideologues who push such appalling nonsense are driven by an agenda that is not only absolutely antithetical to your free-market enterprise, as such, but precisely targeted at the freedoms that made your success possible? Can’t you see that by going along, sheep-like (just as the professors are doing; just as the artists and writers are doing) that you are generating a veritable fifth column within your businesses? Are you really so blind, cowed and cowardly? With all your so-called privilege?
And it’s not just the universities. And the professional colleges. And Hollywood. And the corporate world. Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity — that radical leftist Trinity — is destroying us. Wondering about the divisiveness that is currently besetting us? Look no farther than DIE. Wondering — more specifically — about the attractiveness of Trump? Look no farther than DIE. When does the left go too far? When they worship at the altar of DIE, and insist that the rest of us, who mostly want to be left alone, do so as well. Enough already. Enough. Enough.
Finally, do you know that Vladimir Putin himself is capitalizing on this woke madness? Anna Mahjar-Barducci at MEMRI.org covered his recent speech. I quote from the article’s translation: “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.”
This, from the head of the former totalitarian enterprise, against whom we fought a five decades’ long Cold War, risking the entire planet (in a very real manner). This, from the head of a country riven in a literally genocidal manner by ideas that Putin himself attributes to the progressives in the West, to the generally accepting audience of his once-burned (once (!)) twice-shy listeners.
And all of you going along with the DIE activists, whatever your reasons: this is on you. Professors. Cowering cravenly in pretence and silence. Teaching your students to dissimulate and lie. To get along. As the walls crumble. For shame. CEOs: signalling a virtue you don’t possess and shouldn’t want to please a minority who literally live their lives by displeasure. You’re evil capitalists, after all, and should be proud of it. At the moment, I can’t tell if you’re more reprehensibly timid even than the professors. Why the hell don’t you banish the human resource DIE upstarts back to the more-appropriately-named Personnel departments, stop them from interfering with the psyches of you and your employees, and be done with it? Musicians, artists, writers: stop bending your sacred and meritorious art to the demands of the propagandists before you fatally betray the spirit of your own intuition. Stop censoring your thought. Stop saying you will hire for your orchestral and theatrical productions for any reason other than talent and excellence. That’s all you have. That’s all any of us have.
He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. And the wind is rising.