Society & Culture

The Pronouns of Bedlam

“‘Shut up,’ he explained.”

—Ring Lardner, The Young Immigrants

This past year, certain reporters, some students and professors, and the Canadian government have hounded Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, for his protests against the government’s Bill C-16, passed with Royal Assent in mid-June, which makes the misuse of “gender identity or expression” a form of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.  Peterson opposed Bill C-16 because its vague wording could require everyone to honor “gender-neutral language.”  Fearing that his opposition might bring him before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, Peterson consulted an attorney, who told him an appearance before the Tribunal would cost him $250,000 and a guaranteed conviction.  “Go back to your safe little life,” the attorney told Peterson, “and shut your mouth.”

This threat by the state to force the use of “gender-correct language” on its citizens and the outcry by the usual suspects against the professor’s refusal to employ the pronouns ze, zir, zhe, or they (referring to one person) reveal once again what many people know: Some Western academics and bureaucrats have gone poco loco in...

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