Free speech and the moral panic at Linfield

Parker Wells

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On April 7th, as the controversy surrounding Jordan Peterson’s visit began to unfold, I described
 the circumstances as “more pushback than I expected at Linfield, but no cause for concern.”
Unfortunately, I was mistaken. Dr. Peterson’s visit to McMinnville unveiled cause for serious
 concern about the future of Linfield College, and shed light on the fundamental problems facing
 American higher education.

Admittedly, numerous parties were at fault for Peterson’s eventual disinvitation. Among other 
issues, my own excitement for his visit led me to advertise the event too zealously. I quickly
 learned about Linfield’s delicate publicity policies.

However, even accounting for the consequences of our mistakes, it was unreasonably difficult 
for Linfield’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter to host Dr. Peterson on campus. Linfield’s
 bureaucratic gears turn slowly for student efforts that aren’t in line with ‘social justice’ ideals, a
 common trend in higher education. If we had invited an intersectional feminist to speak instead, 
events likely would have transpired differently.

Certain faculty and students continue to malign YAL and our intentions. In turn, community
 members are afraid to publicly support or acknowledge us. Some have asked for their names to
 be scrubbed from the club’s activities due to fear of social or academic persecution.

We are left to wonder why the college shows minimal interest in addressing the ongoing scare 
tactics, or in protecting our student group from harsh accusations. I would prefer to avoid
 crafting a victim narrative, but campus discourse so heavily favors a conception of “oppressors 
versus the oppressed” that an appeal to victimization becomes one of the only viable methods for 
communicating a problem.

The college is not blind to these issues, and some faculty are already pushing to introduce more 
variety on campus. Jordan Peterson’s talk could have been used to showcase their initiative – a 
wasted opportunity.

After he was disinvited, our YAL chapter managed to relocate the event, fund it completely and 
pull it off without incident over the course of one weekend. A college campus should be the
 most conducive space possible for promoting student efforts and allowing ideas to flow. It pains
 me to say that the opposite turned out to be true.

Outside of Linfield’s stifling atmosphere, the community made its voice heard on April 24th.
Respectfully and clearly, they said this: Dr. Peterson’s lecture was a valuable learning 
experience which deserved support.

The Falls Event Center (an incredible venue) was packed with nearly 400 attendees. The questions
posed were insightful, the donation effort was a stunning success, and the speaker received two
 standing ovations. The mismatch between Linfield’s reaction and that of the broader community
indicates that the college made significant errors in its assessment of the situation.

The bulk of the problems here were caused by hyper reactionary behavior from a radical
 minority of students and professors. For example: English professor Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt. 
She treated our group uncharitably, so my response to her will be in plain terms.

Dutt-Ballerstadt repeatedly described our efforts as a threat to student safety in staff memos, 
interviews and class time activities. In an article published to the school paper, she asserts that 
our events “greatly threaten ‘safe spaces’ for our students, staff and faculty who belong to
 marginalized groups and violate our ethos of upholding mutual respect.” That’s a bold
 accusation, which some of her followers took very seriously. She didn’t stop her act there.
 During at least one school day, Ballerstadt reportedly taught from off campus due to “concerns 
for her safety.”

YAL students experienced an immediate negative effect on our campus life. We’ve seen the
 phrase “transphobic piece of s**t” scrawled across a blackboard. Implications of nazism and
 white supremacy have been leveled at us in public settings. I’ve been branded an “alt-righter.”
 One student expressed concern that his grade in Dutt-Ballerstadt’s class may suffer if she found 
out that he attended our events.

The comical reality seems to be that my tuition pays for Dutt-Ballerstadt to feign terror, convince 
her students through video chat that I represent a threat to their well being, and organize them 
in order to keep people away from YAL events. Linfield’s “commitment to diversity” rings hollow 
when toxic ideologues are allowed to exert such unchecked power against well-meaning
 student efforts.

Our group was barely large enough to mount a defense. In a classroom setting, group support is 
not available, so dissenting voices are often too afraid to be heard. This stagnates Linfield’s
 marketplace of ideas. Students need to feel like they have some protection against tar and 
feathering tactics when they speak out. If colleges can’t make that promise to individuals who
 fall outside of the typical liberal arts political/cultural sphere, those demographics will feel
 alienated, and enrollment numbers will continue to depress.

That is why Linfield’s YAL chapter began. We don’t want to see the school we love go down a
 dark path any longer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

21 Comments

21 Responses to “Free speech and the moral panic at Linfield”

  1. Benjamin Bartu on April 28th, 2017 10:19 pm

    I am glad that you are exercising your liberties of free speech — I think that the discussion about what kind of conversations we can have on campus is an important one.
    What I regret most strongly is your treatment of the professor you chose to focus upon in this essay. Even if you feel that you were treated inequitably by her, unfounded suggestions such as that she could not see past the ideology to the individual people/students, and would potentially change their grades as a result, are quite serious thoughts to be floating without any evidence. To follow that up with “She didn’t stop her act there. During at least one school day, [the professor] reportedly taught from off campus due to ‘concerns for her safety.'” To claim that a feeling of concern for one’s wellbeing is an act is problematic (more honestly, it’s character assassination), especially coming from a member of a movement which invited a man to campus who actively promotes the need to ignore others’ concerns for their own wellbeing. I know the professor, and they are hardly someone who needs anyone else to speak for her, so I won’t elaborate any further than that on this matter.
    I am sharing these points and pieces from your own writing that I take issue with not so much to take the professor’s side in the unfolding of events (although I did, after some oscillation, decide against wanting Peterson to set foot on this campus), but rather to share what I believe is correct exercise of our powers of free speech and what isn’t. You have the liberties to say those things, but the responsibility of having such a voice — especially one that is amplified by a newspaper and the internet — is tremendous, and we each must bear the brunt of that.
    I feel you have propagated a narrative of blame-gaming here that perhaps you yourself were seeking to escape in targeting an individual in such a manner.
    I apologize if any of this is half-baked: It’s a quick response, and there is much I’d like to think on more.
    Suffice it to say that this student cares more to hear what you have to say about your perception of the administration and student body’s mishandling of the situation than passive-aggressive acknowledgements of character flaws you believe exist in a given individual.
    At the very least, Parker, please don’t name them.

    [Reply]

    Parker Wells Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Ben. Professor Dutt-Balerstadt is the only person I felt it was necesary to name in this article, because as I said, she treated us the most uncharitably. Read what she has said about our events. She is convincing students that I am putting them in physical danger, and she’s organizing rallies against my events during her class time. It’s an abuse of the student-faculty power relationship and she deserves to be called out for it.

    [Reply]

    Benjamin Bartu Reply:

    I appreciate the reply, Parker, and would like to add that Professor Seidman has better put to words my own feelings about this issue at the present time than I myself am capable of. I encourage everyone who visits this page who has yet to read her comment (further down) to do so.

    Having already read what the professor in question’s feelings about the events organized by YAL were, I can see why the organizer(s) of said events may feel defensive — especially if much time and/or resources were spent on organization. However, I never once felt that any individual was being personally maligned. Rather, it was the message and the ideas which were being brought to campus or sanctioned to spread upon the Facebook page of Linfield’s YAL club. Whenever I heard a comment about a rally being made — which was not frequently (and hardly, I felt, an attempt to organize one) it was in the spirit of suggesting that students who were against Peterson’s coming to campus to stand up for what they believed in and themselves co-ordinate such a rally, should they be so inclined. I also heard the professor say that students felt that they were in physical danger, due to real conversations that professor had had with some of her students. Never was I told by the professor — in person or otherwise — that I was in physical danger. The distinction, to me at least, mattered then and matters now.
    And I would again question the platform you are using to call out the professor for her actions. As much fun as it is to for once engage with the Linfield Review over something I feel to be salient (zinger!), it is a shame that I have to do it from the vantage of one who was not being personally attacked. Administration is where I feel such complaints should be brought, and evidence should accompany all of them. This feels to me to belong in the Review (and understand I am limited, as us all, by my experience, preconceived notions, and biases) as much as an article called “Parker Wells is a poo-poo pants.” I know you yourself have been victim to many an attack on your character because of recent events, and this is not an attempt to add to that (I hope we can appreciate the comedy/alliterative quality of such a ludicrous title, as with “Benjamin Bartu – Ignorant Butthead,”). I only seek through doing so to show you how ludicrous the placement of these sentiments become when
    a) They are presented in a less linguistically advanced form than you have posited.
    &
    b) They are directed at the public – it’s dehumanizing, especially if you don’t know the person.

    I would also like to inquire about the shift in language that you employed in your response – first you suggested that Reshmi wrote about “our events,” (I assume that you refer here to Linfield’s YAL club) and you then proceed to refer to what I believe are those same occasions as “my events.” I don’t wish to speak for everybody, but I personally would appreciate clarification on whether you feel that these events are your own, YAL’s, or some conflation of the two – this would inform my understanding of present circumstances. After all, pronouns are important.

    If you made it this far, I’m sorry: This was long-winded.
    As I said at the start, professor Seidman’s comment sums this up faster and makes some extremely important points.

    [Reply]

  2. Linda Smith on April 28th, 2017 10:56 pm

    I applaud the members of YAL for their commitment to protecting the freedoms of our country. My husband and I attended Jordan Peterson’s speech and I learned something valuable from it. Mr Peterson stated that we not only have a right and a responsibility to speak up for our convictions but that we have a responsibility to LISTEN to opposing views, that we may learn from the other side, even is we disagree and our position is not changed. And that applies to college professors in particular as they teach young people to be well informed. No matter how flat the pancake it still has two sides.

    [Reply]

  3. Barbara Kitt Seidman on April 29th, 2017 12:47 pm

    As chair of the English Department I would like to correct Parker Wells’ claim that Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt met her classes off campus this past week. That is patently untrue. But there nothing “feigned” about feeling anxious when one’s name and photo are broadly disseminated in a complaint video about Linfield College. I can attest to the fact that many of us who watched the video gasped at the ways Professor Peterson had chosen to publicize his disappointment with what had transpired at Linfield, and as department chair I was–on my own, immediately determined to do what I could to ensure her a safe working environment. It is a basic fact of workplace management that employers address worker safety issues, and I must receive a couple of emails weekly from various higher education sources advertising programs around how a campus in 2017 needs to protect its community members from the kinds of sudden violence that afflict so many kinds of public spaces in the U.S. today. Moreover, no student suffered lost instruction or consultation time with Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt as a result of the small adjustments we made to foster a climate of safety. Those who think this is over-reaction might ask themselves how persons working at Rogue Valley Community College might respond to such charges. Many of us at Linfield are disappointed that there seems insufficient imagination to understand why “safety” is a relative term, highly dependent on the conditions of one’s lived existence in the world and in a specific body. But then again, I have read and listened a great deal to individuals who speak of the relative nature of personal “safety” and the privilege it is not to have to think about it much at all.

    Similarly, charges of unfair grading are ones we faculty take very seriously, as does the college itself–that is why there are clear paths of redress for students who believe they have such charges to make. But speculative claims made second hand are specious and inflammatory. A more productive route would be for a student with such concerns to come talk to me as chair so I can provide reassurance.

    Finally, I find the targeting of one faculty member by name so pointedly and repeatedly as a bizarre use of Linfield Review editorial space. That Parker seeks to engage the community in a debate about faculty political stances concerning Professor Peterson’s recent talk is fine. I would also like to reassure Parker and all YAL members that the Linfield faculty has been discussing the very concern he raises in multiple venues so far and will continue to discuss them, as we are interested in finding the means to foster more opportunities for productive engagement with differing perspectives in Linfield’s public spaces. But that he should instead use his opportunity to launch a screed against one person does nothing to alleviate the climate of intimidation he claims has surrounded conservative thinkers–it merely extends it in more directions.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Barbara Kitt Seidman
    English Department Chairperson

    [Reply]

    Parker Wells Reply:

    I never said that Reshmi met her classes off campus. I said that she did not come to campus and instead taught through video chat, which I’ve seen photographic evidence for. Students are genuinely concerned that their grades and social lives will suffer if they step out of line or reveal their true beliefs- that much has been said in plenty of public comments. Observe the interviews showcased before Peterson’s talk, for example. If you take such concerns seriously, as you claim, then you should open your ears and find out why this sentiment exists at Linfield instead of impugning my motives for giving it a voice. The reason that much of this information is presented “second hand” is because most students refuse to sign their names to any public statements out of fear, further demonstrating the problem. Can you blame them? How can you be surprised that students feel scared to speak? Luckily I am a senior who will be out of the woods soon, but most of my peers don’t have that luxury. The Linfield Review recently published a letter to the editor in response to YAL events, which tells us that “your free speech isn’t free if there’s a body count.” Here and in many other instances, we see the conflation of our WORDS with real physical danger to people on campus. These hyperbolic accusations cause deep resentment among ideological factions, creating a hostile learning environment. Implications of violence cause people to become unreasonable and fearful on both sides of the aisle. It’s abundantly clear where those implications are coming from. I have chosen to focus on professor Dutt-Ballerstadt because the bulk of inflamatory claims are demontrably originating from her. We can read the comments in interviews and faculty memos where she vilifies us routinely. If she is willing to accuse us of potentially inciting violence (never having reached out to us personally, by the way) she deserves every resulting criticism. That being said, I don’t agree with Dr. Peterson’s decision to include her photograph in his response video- we share some common sympathy on that point at least. I have images of blackboard scrawlings made by students in Dutt-Ballerstadt’s class, as they sacrificed valuable lecture time to plan a counter-rally. I can show you what kind of ideas were propogated there, and how much room those ideas leave for open inquiry. Imagine being a student in her class who secretly supported Peterson or YAL. Do you think that student would be comfortable voicing their opinion, or taking Reshmi’s classes in the future? If you’re worried about inflammatory comments and coercion, you should now know where to investigate. Everyone was getting along just fine until accusations of racism, sexism and violence were brought into the picture, and that escalation was not made by YAL. Below, you can see some of the intellectual rot on display. Mark Ogden chastises me for “publicly maligning a female professor here as a White male,” suggesting prejudice on his part, as I don’t see how my race and gender have anything to do with the conflict at hand. You can also see that he accuses me of screening a film which “promotes sexual violence.” Again, suggesting that my self expression carries an intent to inflict bodily harm. These narratives, appealing to identity politics and veiled accusations of violence, come from ideologically possessed students and professors. They quickly spread around campus until everyone is tense and hostile, forced to choose between the allegedly “sexually violent” side, or the opposition. This pattern has been observed again and again, elsewhere and now at Linfield. Professors have a right to say those things about their own students, but it is extremely unwise. I’m glad that such ugliness is coming to the surface for all to see.

    [Reply]

    Mark Ogden Reply:

    “Mark Ogden chastises me for “publicly maligning a female professor here as a White male,” suggesting prejudice on his part, as I don’t see how my race and gender have anything to do with the conflict at hand. ”

    If you do not see how your race and gender allows you to see the world then you may want to start your education all over again. Also, isn’t it clear that your one agenda (among others) here is to go after “gender” by bringing a well known transphobic speaker to campus and then the movie “Red Pill” that glosses over issues of sexual violence and glorifies the men’s movement and misogyny. I also think it is glaringly obvious that you are going after a very smart female and feminist professor on your campus for speaking her mind and not letting you and your club just slide by in the name of free speech. I am sure there are plenty of male professors on your campus that are not endorsing your moves. Or are they? Why are you not talking about them?
    My brother attended Linfield and he received a wonderful education from the kinds of feminist professors you are trying to slander. They have been his role models.

    Sorry to say this but you have exposed yourself quite well here. As I said, having some shame on your part would be wise at this point.

    [Reply]

  4. Samantha Palmer on April 29th, 2017 2:34 pm

    Just because the community applauded doesn’t mean the college made an error. You have every right to speak out about your convictions and want to hear diverse points of view – but claiming that people who oppose you are nothing but radical minorities overreacting (or straight “acting”, as you claim Professor Duty-Ballerstadt was doing) is not that much different than the people who brand you an “alt-righter”.
    I’m curious if you or your organization ever sat down and discussed the issue with the people protesting his visit. Meaningful dialogue goes a lot further than playing the blame game and crafting yourself into a narrative of victimhood.
    Free speech is important, but Linfield and its other thousand+ students aren’t obligated to host, promote, or listen to the same people you want to listen to. Free speech does not mean providing a platform to anyone, and it does not mean being free from consequences. I hope that your group will continue to bring people to speak at linfield and provide differing opinions, but I also hope you handle the next situation with more grace and understanding.

    [Reply]

  5. Mark Ogden on April 30th, 2017 1:59 am

    Parker Wells, I have been following your comments in some other articles here and there and it seems like you have singled out one female professor for your rants. It is quite obvious that Prof-Dutt-Ballerstadt is an outspoken feminist professor and it is also quite obvious that you have some serious issues with feminists. If you are seriously an advocate for free speech then you should allow others to speak their minds freely too. If you are an advocate for equality then you should allow even more that those that are female (professor or not) speak their minds. Obviously you are neither and your double-standards are clear. I also find it quite disturbing that you are publicly maligning a female professor here as a White male and seem to provide little to no evidence about the sources of your accusations. This is unprofessional. I also do not understand why you keep pointing out about Dutt-Ballerstadt’s “bold accusations,” because what she has said are not accusations at all. What she has said is just common sense. Jordon Peterson is a well known transphobic speaker and as an educator and a feminist she does have a right to protect her students, particularly her transgender students. ‘
    Also whoever accused YAL of supporitng alt-right is also not far from the truth because you are giving a platform for the issues that alt-right wants to promote, like Pepe the Frog (a racist hate symbol) followed by a transphobic speaker and then the film that you are advertising to screen called the Red Pill. This film has also been banned from screening in many schools because it promotes sexual violence. These are all well known propaganda events for the alt right.
    So please do not paint yourself as a victim. Have some shame for what you are doing. Gather some strength to stand up to strong feminists like Prof. Dutt-Ballerstadt and others on your campus. And after paying 40K to get your education every year, at the very least you should cite your sources property rather than hearsay from your supporters who are all hiding behind you as you play your victim card.
    BTW, Peterson gets more disinvited than invited. Most colleges that do not tolerate discriminatory rhetoric will not allow Peterson. This is not about free speech. It is about protecting the dignity of their community. Good for Linfield for disinviting Peterson.

    [Reply]

  6. Mark Ogden on April 30th, 2017 10:27 am

    Parker Wells, I have been following your comments in some other articles here and there and it seems like you have singled out one female professor for your rants. It is quite obvious that Prof-Dutt-Ballerstadt is an outspoken feminist professor and it is also quite obvious that you have some serious issues with feminists. If you are seriously an advocate for free speech then you should allow others to speak their minds freely too. If you are an advocate for equality then you should allow even more that those that are female (professor or not) speak their minds. Obviously you are neither and your double-standards are clear. I also find it quite disturbing that you are publicly maligning a female professor here as a White male and seem to provide little to no evidence about the sources of your accusations. This is unprofessional. I also do not understand why you keep pointing out about Dutt-Ballerstadt’s “bold accusations,” because what she has said are not accusations at all. What she has said is just common sense. Jordon Peterson is a well known transphobic speaker and as an educator and a feminist she does have a right to protect her students, particularly her transgender students. ‘
    Also whoever accused YAL of supporitng alt-right is also not far from the truth because you are giving a platform for the issues that alt-right wants to promote, like Pepe the Frog (a racist hate symbol) followed by a transphobic speaker and then the film that you are advertising to screen called the Red Pill. This film has also been banned from screening in many schools because it promotes sexual violence. These are all well known propaganda events for the alt right.
    So please do not paint yourself as a victim. Have some shame for what you are doing. Gather some strength to stand up to strong feminists like Prof. Dutt-Ballerstadt and others on your campus. And after paying 40K to get your education every year, at the very least you should cite your sources property rather than hearsay from your supporters who are all hiding behind you as you play your victim card.
    BTW, Peterson gets more disinvited than invited. Most colleges that do not tolerate discriminatory rhetoric will not allow Peterson. This is not about free speech. It is about protecting the dignity of their community. Good for Linfield for disinviting Peterson.

    [Reply]

  7. Ethan Hardison on April 30th, 2017 7:26 pm

    Speaking as an outside observer, I find the apparent double standard applied to the students of YAL troubling. I do understand that the administration is likely in tough spot and I don’t have all the details but i do feel inclined to share my thoughts.

    If the university values the comfort and safety of its community so much as to cancel a scheduled speaker, then why does it not take the concerns of the YAL seriously? If a professor is openly maligning a student group and those associated with it in publication or to other students then it seems the accused students are perfectly entitled to defend themselves and respond directly and openly.

    Clearly members of the YAL feel threatened here and if claims that students felt threatened was a contributing factor in cancelling a campus speaker it should certainly be taken seriously in this case, especially considering the actual harassment taking place (students being falsely called white supremacists and alt-right, and accused of fomenting violence, is pretty serious in my opinion).

    An above commenter describes Jordan Peterson as using “discriminatory rhetoric” and being “transphobic,” and a danger to students. Based on the many videos of Peterson I’ve seen and my understanding of his views (including the speech he actually gave at Linfield), I see these accusations as imminently untrue, as well is the claim that Peterson has been “disinvited more than invited” to other colleges. Most colleges allow him to speak and usually without protest, since he doesn’t actually espouse discriminatory rhetoric. This commenter also discriminated against the author based on their race and gender, which I think is unfair and hypocritical, though not surprising.

    In my opinion also, this kind of stereotyped ideological rhetoric, disregard for factual accuracy and inclination towards personal attack based on gross miss-characterization of the opinion and intention of others is a widespread trend and precisely the reason for the popularity of speakers like Peterson. If I were a student at a university where this kind of rhetoric and open misinformation was being widely disseminated and unchallenged, let alone encouraged by faculty, I would be seriously worried for members of a group like YAL, as well as the general student body. Intentional harassment and marginalization of students should be taken seriously by faculty, and the freedom of thought (to which freedom of speech is a prerequisite) is absolutely essential to a true liberal education.

    I’ll also take this opportunity, as a student at another university, to thank the author and the YAL for everything they have done to promote the intellectual freedom and growth of their community, curb the influence of intolerant and close-minded ideology such as the kind displayed by the above commentor and the professor mentioned, and raise awareness about these issues which are impoverishing the minds of young people and endangering the future of our civil society. Clearly what they are doing has taken courage and integrity and I hope more people will come to see that in the future.

    [Reply]

  8. Kyra R on April 30th, 2017 11:44 pm

    I agree completely with Dr. Seidman and Sammi — while you have the right to free speech, you also have the right to be held accountable for what you say and how you address this. By directly targeting Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt, this creates a seriously problematic opposition that veers far too closely to a personal vendetta than a professional disagreement. It is a professional response to address the YAL as a whole, and not target one student in particular. It reads as petulant to attack one faculty member for exercising the same rights that you supposedly advocate for, when it was the college administration (and not Dutt-Ballerstadt) who made the final decision.

    After reading several articles (published by the Review, the Register etc) it seems fairly clear that Peterson was disinvited because the regulations set to invite a speaker to campus were not followed. Linfield College is a private college and a private campus — they are not required to host anyone who advertises outside of campus and threatens to violate the safety of their students. Following Peterson’s twitter feed, it’s also fairly clear that he has a quite transphobic, racist and misogynistic following — it doesn’t take much scrolling to see references to the KKK. Yes, words can have a violent affect, however the words with violent consequences are not Prof. Dutt-Ballerstadt’s. It takes a very simple Google search and a simple understanding of history to see how transphobic, racist, language can directly threaten the lives of Queer and POC communities.

    Additionally, were this series truly advocating for free speech, I would expect a wider array of speakers, rather than a film that does in fact promote sexual violence by perpetuating rape culture, and a speaker who refuses to respect diverse identities, while demanding respect himself. This seems like much more of an “echo chamber”.

    Your implications about Professor Dutt-Ballerstadt are offensive and unsubstantiated by evidence or citing your sources. You have the privilege of access to an administration who would willingly investigate this, yet you chose to cast aspersions on her character and create a culture of rumor. Allegations like these are quite serious, as Dr. Seidman says, are taken quite seriously. This approach is inflammatory and reeks of the same intimidation tactics that Peterson uses in his videos, where he clearly violates the personal safety and integrity of a faculty member.

    As an alumni — not to mention a female alumni of color — actions like these sicken me. This a flagrant disregard for the safety and the health of your peers, and is incredibly disrespectful of your professors. These are not the actions of someone who seeks to create a respectful and open dialogue.

    Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt was one of my favorite professors on campus and I have always admired her boldness and tenacity in using her right to free speech. I suggest you do the same.

    [Reply]

  9. John on May 1st, 2017 1:26 am

    I just watched the talk he gave…it was so transphobic! Not to mention misogynistic, homophobic, ableist, speciesist and somewhat mean to Eskimos.

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    Because I fear that obvious may be lost on some here, I will point out that my little outburst here of progressive-Tourettes, was in fact meant sarcastically.

    [Reply]

  10. Matt Weant on May 3rd, 2017 12:40 am

    It pains me to see all of this happening while being unable to assist in any YAL activities. Again, I apologize for not being able to be on campus to assist. After you guys leave next semester, hopefully, I’ll still be around to make sure future students aren’t mistreated due to dissenting opinions; you have my word.

    [Reply]

  11. A on May 3rd, 2017 11:36 am

    Your incredibly overwhelming support of a known bigot (Peterson) is ridiculous. The fact that you’re so upset about being labeled an ‘alt-righter’ — wait, so you aren’t one? Are you sure about that? I decided to go through and look at other comments you’ve made on this website alone, and it’s pretty clear you’re one of the types that wants to bask in the glory of all that the alt-right can and wants to afford while not having to deal with the ramifications of being labeled so. If it walks like a duck and QUACKS like a duck… You get the gist.

    For the record: I can’t take any comments here seriously that are defending Peterson and claiming his words aren’t discriminatory when the actual groups he’s targeted — people who are trans, people of color, etc. — have expressly stated that they feel the opposite when they hear his words. This isn’t something you or any other person outside of those groups gets to decide. I’m a woman of color. I can tell when something is nuanced with sexism or racism. I, however, am not trans. I cannot decide when something is transphobic, unless a member of the trans community says it is transphobic — and that isn’t to say you point fingers at someone just because they make you mad; it’s backed up by context of historical usage of the word and the history of the person who said it. Peterson is not a good guy. Put short: stop reaching.

    Lastly, your over-the-top targeting of a female professor of color over everybody else involved with the more-than-reasonable shunning of Peterson from the Linfield campus is — above downright nasty — just sad. Calling this a “dark path” is laughable. You claim to want to have two sides to everything… While that’s perfectly reasonable, what you’ve written here is a heavily biased op-ed about all of your struggles against the evil female professor who doesn’t want your hero to ‘violate safe spaces.’ If you really want to create proper and fair discourse, you need to have both sides OBJECTIVELY written out, sourced, and cited. Or didn’t you learn that in school? Get a grip.

    [Reply]

    Ethan Hardison Reply:

    A,

    If it interests you, Peterson has had massive support from people of color, women and trans individuals. Days before his Linfield speech in fact, Peterson co-hosted an event with a trans-woman named Theryn Meyer in Vancouver. Videos abound on youtube with titles such as “I’m trans and I love Jordan Peterson”. Youtube comments and articles by trans people of similar opinions are not hard to find either. He has had many discussions on video with people of color who both agree and disagree with him. How many racists do you know of who have been official inducted into native American tribes? (Peterson is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe)

    Just because one person from a certain group has an opinion does not mean that they speak for all people in that group. There are trans-people who claim Peterson is transphobic and trans-people who are fans of his who claim he is anything but. Though you don’t have to believe him, Peterson claims to have recieved over 30 letters of support from trans-people and only two critical letters. Considering the abounding evidence that many trans-people do in fact support his ideas and his right to share them, as well as the central emphasis of honesty in Peterson’s thought and obvious conscientious commitment to living by the ideas he puts forth, I see no reason to doubt this.

    You seem to suggest that all trans-people are only capable of having the same opinion on some things. Perhaps I simply misunderstood what you were saying though, but I am curious how you would respond to the fact that support for Peterson is actually divided among trans-people? If, hypothetically, 90% of trans-people supported Peterson and 10% considered him “transphobic”, would he still be a bigot in this regard in your eyes?

    For many of us who support Peterson and tolerance of opinion generally, regardless of skin color, gender, or any other such identity, this kind of selective manipulation of information into a narrative which allows one to attack the character of another without actually considering their ideas or engaging honestly with them is seen as dangerous and unfair precisely to the people purported to be protected by such action. I know that you probably don’t see yourself as intentionally distorting the truth in this way and that you do actually believe that Peterson is a dangerous bigot, but I only hope to explain what I think to you and anyone else who might read this– that these issues are quite complicated and not clear cut, and that many of us with different opinions do not in fact have the most nefarious views at heart, and that all of us have a tendency to filter information into certain narratives because of our prejudices, assumptions and ignorance.

    I and many others believe open mindedness and humility are essential virtues if one wishes to truly improve the world for all people and this is why many of us of different races, genders and political views support Peterson.

    [Reply]

  12. Ethan Hardison on May 4th, 2017 1:28 pm

    I assure you reader I have better things I should be doing, and hope I am committing no comment section faux-pas in posting a link here, but for those interested, here is a video titled “I’m trans, and I love Jordan Peterson”:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0w7FOJaYNI

    This is an example of many of the people who’s voices are unknown to, or being ignored and denied by people who claim to stand for trans rights and the rights of other marginalized people, mostly out of ignorance I would imagine. They deserve to be heard.

    (from the video)- “The thing about those who go to his talks and try and shut him down is that they don’t listen. I’ll admit that when I first heard the surface of his initial controversy, I thought that he was narcissistic and ignorant.”

    -“Jordan Peterson is living proof that free speech is necessary, no matter what. He is not a bigot and he is not transphobic, and an overwhelming majority of the letters he receives are from trans people like me.”

    -“These protestors have absolutely no right to speak for all trans people, just as a single white man does not have the right to speak for all white men.”

    [Reply]

  13. John on May 5th, 2017 12:45 am

    Lol! Dr. Peterson is a “known bigot.” I guess when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You should instead be angry at your college, for only equipping you with just the one tool. If you’re forever misperceiving reality through the lens of SJW-groupthink, then your chances at a happy & constructive live are sadly diminished.

    [Reply]

  14. b on May 5th, 2017 12:41 pm

    After reading Parker’s piece and seeing the vile attacks from the authoritarian marxists at Linfield, I marvel at the evil stupidity that passes for intellectualism these days, and I mourn for the degeneration of our culture at the hands of these goons.

    Parker, get out of Linfield as fast as you can and never return.

    [Reply]

  15. John on May 6th, 2017 9:40 am

    You kids have no idea what a syllogism is, do you? (Dont google it!)

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Free speech and the moral panic at Linfield