A Canadian talk show episode on the gender pronoun use debate offers some insights into Leftist totalitarianism.
"Basically, it's not correct that there's such a thing as biological sex," University of Toronto instructor Nicholas Matte said at the 11:26 mark on the Oct. 26 episode of "The Agenda with Steve Paikin." (See below.)
Matte, a Ph.D. candidate who teaches "Intro to Trans Students" in the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, is obviously delusional to believe there is no such thing as biological sex. If all he were asking for was the freedom to express and teach his delusion, it wouldn't be much of a problem. Instead, as the episode continues you realize that he expects everyone else to go along with his delusion. Worse still, he supports using government force against those who refuse to go along with his delusion, a step the Canadian government seems poised to make.
The panelists were debating Canada's Bill C-16, which, if passed will add "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the country's list of prohibited forms of discrimination.
University of Toronto students protested when professor Jordan Peterson, also on the panel, said in reaction to the bill that he would not abide by government prescribed pronoun use, such as "ze" or "hir," for students who don't identify with either gender. Throughout the 55-minute discussion, Peterson makes clear that his primary grievance is the government requiring what speech he must use. Peterson doesn't appear to be a conservative, but a classical liberal defending freedom of speech.
The most telling part of the show is how the Leftists opposed to Peterson seemed oblivious to their own authoritarianism. The show begins with the progressive side claiming that Peterson's fears are overblown, that gender identity discrimination laws won't lead to a loss of personal freedom, but they spend the rest of the show confirming everything Peterson warned about. It's surreal.
The other panelists included: Mary Rogan, a transgender male writer who appeared sympathetic to Peterson's free speech argument but at the end came down on Matte's side; Theryn Meyer, a transgender female pundit who defended Peterson; and Kyle Kirkup, a University of Ottawa law professor who tried to make the argument that the new gender identity discrimination provisions are not a danger to freedom of speech.
"It's a common misconception about bill C-16, that it's somehow going to make pronoun use into hate speech ... we're talking about very minor amendments," Kirkup said.
"We have to add some reasonableness to this discussion," he added.
If you're an American and think this is just some crazy Canadian thing you won't have to worry about, note that Kirkup defended his assertion by claiming C-16 isn't as restrictive as a law already in place in New York City.
Paikin pointed out that the law doesn't specifically prescribe a jail sentence for those who resist.
"Jordan, you're not going to jail if you keep this up," he said.
To which Peterson replied, "What if I don't pay the fine?"
The question was followed by an eerie silence. No one had an answer to this important question, not even the law professor claiming Peterson's fears were exaggerated.
While Kirkup sought to reassure that government mandated pronoun use will not amount to defining certain pronoun usage as hate speech, later in the show Matte said Peterson was engaging in hate speech.
Matte also claimed that Peterson's refusal to use government mandated pronouns would contribute to "assaults" on transgender students, to which Peterson pointed out that "social justice warriors" had engaged in actual physical assaults at a free speech rally on his campus.
When Paikin asked Matte if Peterson's actions amount to "abuse" of his students, Matte replied, "absolutely."
"How about violence, is it tantamount to violence?" Peterson asked.
"Yes," Matte answered.
"How about hate speech?" Peterson asked.
"Yes, of course," Matte answered, "it's hate speech to tell someone, you won't refer [to them] in a way that recognizes their humanity and dignity."
Early in the show, Peterson pointed out that the law could lead to a situation in which it would be illegal to even be having the debate they were having at that moment. Then later in the show Paikin read a letter from a person who declined to be on the show, claiming that even having that debate amounted to "transphobia," to which Kirkup added that pronoun usage for transgender people "is not up for debate."
As someone who has tried for the last several years to better understand authoritarian Leftists, the video was helpful. It appears that these Leftists don't set out to be authoritarians, but the logic of their arguments leads them to authoritarianism without them even realizing it.
In a June op-ed I wrote that one way to stump your liberal friends is to ask them if sex chromosomes are real. You don't hear liberals actually say that, I wrote, because clear presentations of their arguments show the absurdities of their position. But here it is in plain view — an example of a Leftist denying the existence of biological sex. Why would anyone make such an absurd statement? Because that's where Leftist logic on gender ultimately leads. It's similar to the abortion debate, where liberals will deny the obvious fact that a human fetus is a human being.
In fact, Matte's belief that there's no such thing as biological sex undergirds the Obama administration's mandates regarding gender identity. While liberals used to argue that gender identity and biological sex were two different things, Obama is now using a law against biological sex discrimination to enforce orders against gender identity discrimination, thus collapsing sex and gender into one and assuming gender identity is real and biological sex is not. To even have laws or policies that recognize biological sex differences is now, in and of itself, considered discrimination.
Some of my liberal friends think me ridiculous when I warn that the freedom of conservative Christians like myself are endangered by progressives. They, like Kirkup, try to reassure me that my fears are unfounded, all the while they support policies that would (or do) lead to restricting the freedom of conservative Christians. They think they're doing the right thing, but, like Matte, are oblivious to the consequences of their own arguments.
Peterson is, to me, a hero, and I don't use that word often or lightly. He understands the importance of what he's fighting for. At the end of the show he was asked if he'll accept whatever consequences may come. He answered that if fined, he won't pay it, and if jailed he'll go on a hunger strike. In the future I predict conservative Christians will need more people like him — liberals, in the true sense of the word, willing to defend freedom for all — because the authoritarian Left won't listen to conservative Christians. They think we're bigots whose arguments don't matter.