News Opinions/Publications Jor­dan Peter­son: Why I am no longer a tenured pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto

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

Jor­dan Peter­son speaks at ICC Syd­ney The­atre on Feb­ru­ary 26, 2019 in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. (Pho­to by Don Arnold/WireImage)

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 MEM​RI​.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.