Discover more from PLURIBUS
E-Pluribus | August 30, 2023
When everything is "politics"; Canada's politicized travel warning; and diversity trumps equality in pursuit of "civil rights."
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Rav Arora: When “Professionalism” Means Politics
Jordan Peterson is headed for a Canadian reeducation camp, for all intents and purposes, reports Rav Arora for City Journal. After losing his appeal, Peterson has agreed to submit to “social-media training” required by his employer for a “[lack of] professionalism.”
An Ontario court has ruled that the College of Psychologists of Ontario can require Jordan Peterson to take social-media training with a board-chosen therapist. Failing to abide by the college’s orders could mean that Peterson would lose his clinical license.
The college had claimed earlier this year that several of Peterson’s tweets were “problematic, unethical or unprofessional,” leading it to demand that he take the social-media training. It also demanded that Peterson, who stopped practicing as a clinical psychologist in 2017, make the following public statement: “I may have lacked professionalism in public statements and during a January 25, 2022, podcast appearance [on The Joe Rogan Experience].”
Had Peterson publicly denied the Holocaust, doxxed individuals, or called for violence against one of his critics, then perhaps social-media training, at a minimum, would have been in order. He didn’t do anything like that. The complaints examined in the college’s original investigation included a tweet sarcastically mocking the left-wing caricature of his audience as “alt-right-wing-trolls,” his supposedly “dangerous” critique of body-positive beauty trends in Sports Illustrated as “not beautiful,” and his opposition to mask mandates.
[ . . . ]
As a result of this political persecution, Peterson will now comply with the college’s decision but will also publicize his experience of taking the social-media training course. Canadians—and Americans—would do well to take note.
Read it all.
Noah Rothman: Canada’s Fashionable Lie
Implying that the United States shares the hazards of countries like Uganda, Russia, and Saudi Arabia for LGBT people, our neighbor to the north is warning travelers to check “state and local laws” before heading this way. Noah Rothman at National Review calls out this political grandstanding for what it is.
This week, Ottawa issued a travel advisory to its citizens who identify as “two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex — or 2SLGBTQI+” to avoid traveling to the United States, but not in response to any specific threat to their physical safety. Indeed, the warning is impressively vague. It maintains merely that “some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons.” What states? Which laws? The warning doesn’t explain. It merely directs interested Canadians to a blanket admonition counseling wariness when traveling to “countries where 2SLGBTQI+ people are persecuted.” There, “you should assume that police are monitoring 2SLGBTQI+-themed websites, apps, and visitors to these platforms,” be cautious when engaging with locals, and refrain from “public displays of affection.”
Gay, lesbian, and transgender Canadians will encounter similar warnings against travel to places such as Syria, Russia, Uganda, and Saudi Arabia. But unlike these and other specific travel advisories, which also warn of broader threats to individual physical safety and security, the risk to Canadians traveling to the U.S. is apparently exclusive to the LGBT community. Overall, Canadians are advised to “take normal security precautions” similar to those that would be best practice when traveling in any other industrialized democracy.
What Ottawa has done with its too-clever appeal here is to bait the international press into covering its maneuver as though it was anything other than a political stunt designed to influence legislative affairs inside the United States. A spokesperson for the Canadian government eventually all but confirmed that the warning was little more than a commentary on domestic American politics. “Since the beginning of 2023, certain states in the U.S. have passed laws banning drag shows and restricting the transgender community from access to gender-affirming care and from participation in sporting events,” the individual warned. Those criteria would narrow the number of regions where Canadians of particular sexual orientations and gender identities could presumably expect threats to their safety. If the Canadian government wasn’t playing a sordid game here, its functionaries might have been more specific. But because they hope to discourage unwanted scrutiny of their claims, they’ve opted to speak in vagaries.
Read the whole thing.
Wenyuan Wu: The Visible Hand vs. Equal Justice
Wenyuan Wu writes for Minding the Campus that two divisions of the US government ostensibly dedicated to civil rights are taking the opposite position when it comes to the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. Wu says the guidance put out by the two offices clearly exalts “diversity” over equality, undermining the very concept of civil rights they are sworn to uphold.
On August 14, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (CRD) jointly released guidance titled “Questions and Answers Regarding the Supreme Court’s Decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard College and University of North Carolina.” Designed to help colleges and universities navigate the admissions landscape after SCOTUS’s landmark ruling in June 2023, this guidance document showcases the federal government’s political will to trample underfoot the court’s decision, which resoundingly overturns race-conscious admissions.
[ . . . ]
Both agencies have engaged in distasteful race-baiting under the pretense of helping colleges and universities better understand the ruling. To signal that schools can and should still embrace holistic admissions, the guidance highlights that applicants’ individual backgrounds include “those related to their race, experiences of racial discrimination, or the racial composition of their neighborhoods and schools.” It offers the following examples to illustrate this:
A university could consider an applicant’s explanation about what it means to him to be the first Black violinist in his city’s youth orchestra or an applicant’s account of overcoming prejudice when she transferred to a rural high school where she was the only student of South Asian descent. An institution could likewise consider a guidance counselor or other recommenders’ description of how an applicant conquered her feelings of isolation as a Latina student at an overwhelmingly white high school to join the debate team. Similarly, an institution could consider an applicant’s discussion of how learning to cook traditional Hmong dishes from her grandmother sparked her passion for food and nurtured her sense of self by connecting her to past generations of her family.
The racialist overtones of statements like these imply that the Biden administration sees individual students as representatives of their racial and ethnic categories who are vying for trophies in a tedious, identity-victimhood marathon. The racial and ethnic classifications of a student are not incidental, but essential, to his identity.
Read it all here.
Compact Magazine’s Geoff Shullenberger on shock tactics on the left and right:
And finally, Wesley Yang with an observation on what makes Martina Navratilova (and J.K. Rowling) unique among celebrities: