Truth Tellers, Court Jesters and an Emperor’s Wardrobe Malfunction – Part B
(c) Futurescapes 21C, 2018 All rights reserved
Posted June 11, 2018, rev'd June 12, 2018.
Feet of clay
It’s April 2018, and Canada’s once-adored Emperor is losing his magic. He still proudly wears the George Soros brand of Neoliberal Identity Politics. But, things just aren’t the same. His devout fans remain enthralled or course, but the sheen is gone. A panel of political analysts probes the possible explanations for his decline in the polls. Why was the popularity of "Sunny Ways" Emperor Selfeous now lagging what it had once been?
The pundits saw several possibilities. There had been a trade trip to China that produced negligible returns.1 And there had been a bruising encounter with the small business sector over proposed tax changes?2 Had his violation of multiple sections of the Conflict of Interest Act concerning a family vacation at an island retreat belonging to the Aga Kahn contributed?3 And what part had his finance minister’s failure to fully disclose his financial interests played?4
There were still other possible explanations. One panelist cited the Emperor’s endless haranguing Canadians regarding political correctness. More recently, a rather disorganized trade trip to India had been labeled a “disaster” by the media. Trade relations may have been the pretext, but analysts saw other more superficial motives on Selfeous’ part.
Barbara Dutt of the Washington Post reported that an anonymous Indian government official said regarding Canada's glorious Emperor, "He seems more much more convinced of his own rock-star status than we ever were."
As for her part, Dutt commented:
I confess, from afar, I used to be a Trudeau fan-girl. But after this trip, I've changed my mind. Trudeau has come across as flighty and facetious. His orchestrated dance moves and multiple costume changes in heavily embroidered kurtas and sherwanis make him look more like an actor on a movie set or a guest at a wedding than a politician who is here to talk business. Suddenly, all that charisma and cuteness seem constructed, manufactured and, above all, not serious. 5
The consensus among observers, like Dutt, concluded the trip was designed to score points with Canada’s large Sikh community. It’s all about the optics with Emperor Selfeous.
A dissenting voice in the crowd
While the majority of Canadians remained forbearing, a contrarian voice in the crowd was making itself heard. It belonged to University of Toronto psychology professor, Jordan Peterson. When the Canadian government prepared to pass legislation requiring Canadians to use an expanding lexicon of activist-designated gender pronouns, Peterson objected. This was an Orwellian violation of the principle of freedom of speech with authoritarian overtones.6 Peterson, the refusenik, publicly stated he would not comply with the dictates of the government in the realm of prescribed speech. He went so far as saying he would go to jail in defense of his free speech. 7
Nor was Peterson impressed with the Emperor’s glib “It’s 2015” fuzzy math calculation for the 50:50 male-female composition of his cabinet. Pederson pointed out that achieving gender party would only have required Selfeous appoint the same percentage of males and females to cabinet as male and female MP’s elected to public office.8
Douglas Murray, writing in The Spectator, describes Peterson’s rise.
In 2016 he made a stand against the Canadian government’s introduction of a law that aimed to make it a crime not to address people by their preferred gender pronouns (regardless of chromosomes). The issue of ‘gender pronouns’ may sound a strange springboard to international attention. But Peterson did something a decreasing number of people in our societies are willing to do: he stuck his head above the parapet. He politely but firmly objected to officials telling him or anyone else what words to use or to define for him what the meanings of words should be.
There was an outcry. His classes were disrupted by often riotous protests. There were serious efforts to force him out of his university position. For a moment, it looked as though the social justice mounties might get their man. But for once it didn’t work. In fact it badly backfired. Not only did a lot more people discover a counter-cultural (or counter-counter-cultural) hero who was willing to say what almost everybody else thought. They also discovered someone with not only humanity and humour, but serious depth and substance. 9
The silence heard around the (Western) world
In 2018, Professor Peterson went on tour in Europe to promote his new book, “12 rules for Life: An antidote for chaos.” While in England, he was invited to participate in an interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4, a BBC subsidiary. If Peterson was expecting a friendly conversation about the contents of his book, he was mistaken. Newman, an ardent feminist, was determined to impale Peterson on every point of presumed feminist victimhood. Her style was combative replete with talking over her guest, virtue signaling, straw men premises and misleading accusatory thrusts, “so what you’re saying is that….”.
Peterson repeatedly parried with “no, I’m not saying that…” offering reasoned explanations that drew on the research literature, insights from his clinical practice, his work as an executive career coach and common sense. He remained pleasant throughout, patiently untangling the false premises and conflated issues Newman posited. The interview built to a climax as Newman shifted to frame the male-female pay gap as a patriarchal conspiracy against women.
“But you’re going to put all those hurdles in their way as has been in their way for centuries…and that’s fine” you’re saying that’s fine. The patriarchal system is just fine….”
Peterson: “No I’m not saying that …that’s just silly…”
Peterson responded that the pay gap is explained by a combination of factors including a greater readiness of a small percentage of very ambitious males to sacrifice everything for career. It was a choice that rising, equally talented female executives declined in favour of a more balanced lifestyle.
Then Newman shifted the subject to transgender “rights.”
You cited freedom of speech in that; why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right to not be offended?
Peterson: Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’ know like you’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of the truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable.
Newman: Well I’m very glad that I put you on the spot.
Peterson: But you get my point,…no, but you get my point, you get my point. It’s like you’re doing what you should to do…which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, And that’s fine. I think more power to you as far as I’m concerned.
Newman: Except you haven’t sat there and…(pause)
Newman: (as she sighs and looks upward into space )… I’m just trying….. I’m just trying to work that out…(more silence)…
Peterson: (jokingly) “Gotcha….”10
Newman continued with her questions 10 or 12 seconds later, but in a very real sense the interview was over. This was the silence heard around the world. The last time I checked, one You Tube video excerpt of the interview had well over 10,000,000 views. Jordan Peterson had deftly shattered an imagined transgender “rights” construct of third wave feminism. And, as in case of the fall of Humpty Dumpty, the crash was such that it was unlikely anyone could ever reassemble the pieces.
It bears repeating: “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive.” (He could have added, “and in order to converse and interact as human beings, you have to risk being offensive.”) The delusion was so completely destroyed, it left the viewer wondering what other fragile feminist fabrications were about to fall.
Assessing the damage
The significance of the Newman-Peterson debate shouldn’t be underestimated. It was an unplanned, albeit landmark battle in the long running culture war, or more accurately, assault on conservative thought. There were two obvious outcomes. The first was the defeat of fallacious feminist arguments regarding transgender “rights” and enshrined victimhood. The second was it confirmed the striking contrast in tone and style between militant feminists and traditionalists like Peterson.
It leads to the obvious conclusion that third wave feminism relies heavily on bullying and intimidation and evidence-free assertions. Its adherents aren’t genuinely interested in “a conversation” about issues of the day. Their use of use weaponized language with the implicit smear that if you disagree then you are morally repugnant ("misogynist," "homophobe," "hater," "racist," etc.) is a old tactic of authoritarians intent on silencing criticism.
Because the Newman stance represented neoliberalism and its abusive identitarian politics, the Peterson interview permanently damaged the entire brand and all its adherents. This includes one of its foremost champions, Emperor Selfeous. The divisive issue-creation, sanctimonious assertions of moral superiority and implicit smearing of critics will no longer go unchallenged in the war against conservatives. The protective neoliberal cloak failed spectacularly.Its cheap, synthetic fabric frays quickly in the sunlight of reason, biology, serious science, timeless truths and common sense. It was as if Professor Peterson had opened a window and let some sunlight and fresh air into the room. The neoliberal delusions that enthral the masses may be losing their hold. Some on the political Left are defecting, and resistance is growing.
Peterson’s courageous stand on free speech has captured the attention of many in Canada, the US, Europe, and beyond. His book, sold-out speaking engagements, media appearances and YouTube lectures have birthed a large and growing following. Pederson’s message has a particular appeal among young men who have showed up at his public lectures in droves. Remarkably, some are crediting him with restoring family relationships and saving their lives.
The dangers inherent in neoliberal identity politics
The pathologies of the globalist brand of neoliberal identitarian politics should be evident to the discerning by now. It is destroying the footings from which people derive their identity (gender, faith, family, country). And, simultaneously, it is destroying the links that bind us together in common cause. Thus, it is foreclosing on the societal commons.
Operationally, there are both winners and losers. The winners, in the short term at least, are the imperious powers that be and their minions keen to exploit the magical powers it confers on those intent on controlling the unsuspecting masses. Then, there are its unconscious compliant victims, unaware of their cult-like reality. How can their mute submission be explained? It appears to be the result of a misguided quest for and claim to righteousness reminiscent of that of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.
Journalist, Shadi Hamid, sees, in this vein, a desperate search for a religion in its absence.
In the longer term, the effects of identity-driven discussions become even more pernicious. As I recently argued, basing our positions on who we are rather than what we believe is polarizing precisely because identities are more fixed than ideas.
This is why identity politics can sometimes seem like a new sort of political theology. Belief and conviction are good things, but only if there’s something to believe in. Identity politics and the virtue-outbidding it necessitates often signal the absence of religion in search of religion—with followers mimicking its constituent elements: ritual, purity, atonement, and excommunication.11
Herein lies the explanation for both the religious zealotry of social justice warriors and their willing compliance with the tenets of their cult. In virtue bidding/signaling, SJW’s publicly demonstrate righteousness and adherence to the “faith.” This ensures continued membership. On the other hand, those tempted toward independent thought risk discipline – potentially doxing and excommunication.
A brave man within the ranks of the largely cowed and compliant Canadian populace has struck a blow for freedom. His disruptive influence is akin to that of the young boy who called out a naked emperor in the Hans Christian Anderson tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The now transparent political wardrobe of our dear Emperor leaves him similarly exposed. The torn and threadbare tenets of neoliberal identity politics are increasingly apparent to thoughtful observers in the crowd. Some Canadians have awakened from their trance. Some have even joined the ranks of the resistance. Are Canada’s leading proponents of imperial neoliberalism likely to pause and reflect on the dangers in their doctrine?
The realistic answer is, “No, it’s not in their nature.” I expect the Emperor to continue strutting about in his transparent political attire. As the resistance grows, he is likely to wrap himself even more tightly in his demonstrably frayed wardrobe. The power it yet confers over his yet unawakened subjects is too addictive. But as noted earlier, it is no longer sufficient to repulse the advance of the resistance to the reign of neoliberal dogma in Canada and elsewhere in the West.
I anticipate the political establishment to reinforce a four-fold strategy of: “smogging," "smearing," "sidelining" and silencing.”
Smogging: In the bigger picture, we can expect a continuation of the on-going information warfare being conducted in concert with Western allies and other members of the NATO alliance. It means facilitating and amplifying real and imaginary terrorist and military threats. In the political playbook, nothing is as useful as fear when it come to keeping the masses compliant and conforming to the will of the government.
Smearing: This means continuing to smear Canada and Canadians by declaring them and their beliefs deficient in some respect. Thus, problem definition as pretext sets the scene so that the officialdom can intervene and impose its planned solutions to imagined problems when the opportunity presents itself. The current smear is Canada is “racist.” Studies are planned which will provide the necessary cover for some state- imposed solution to the presumed problem. (One can conclude that earlier in our history, the powers that be determined that Canadians were insufficiently feminist and insufficiently culturally diverse.) Regular smearing by those presumed to know emboldens social justice warriors to attack dissenting individuals, branding them “haters,” “racists,” “bigots,” and “Nazis” and dox them as required.
Sidelining: This is a process of discrediting and discounting dissenting groups or political adversaries by campaigns that regularly demean their motives and devalue their views and beliefs. We have seen this approach to dealing with Evangelical Christians opposed to the Emperor’s pro-abortion and transgender agendas. (It’s the political expression of “my way or the highway.”) Over time, groups subject to this treatment by government are effectively ostracized and their influence neutralized.
Silencing: Ostracized groups may still be able to make their voices heard. For this reason, one can expect a strategy of further silencing or de-platforming these challengers. There are a variety of direct and indirect approaches. In post-truth, post-democratic England, silencing was accomplished in the case of conservative activist, Tommy Robinson, by denying him a lawyer and the media the right to report on his case and charging him and sending him directly to jail.
A variety of indirect means are also currently being used throughout the West by the powers that be. Conservative citizen journalists are being silenced daily by social media giants (Think Facebook, Google, YouTube). These corporate powers now brazenly employ such methods as censure (in the form of warnings to citizen journalists), direct banning of certain Website content, shadow banning, demonetization, censorship, and search suppression. It works to the extent that some independent on-line citizen journalists are already self-censoring. And with this approach, the Corporatocracy does Big Brother’s dirty work for him. The usual pretexts are the oft-stated need to eliminate or control the imagined scourge of “fake news” and the need to protect minorities against “hate speech.”
Not one of these four “S” Orwellian post –democracy strategies will come as a surprise to Canadian patriots or truly independent citizen journalists. These methods define the new Orwellian normal. I can only add, be prepared, there’s more to come.
Summing up, an ideologically-driven Emperor has come to power and imposed a divisive George Soros brand of neoliberal identitarian politics on Canukaland. The deconstruction of Canadian society as we know it is now well underway. Most of the manufactured tensions that are tearing American society apart at the seams are now at work in Canada.
Modern day equivalents of the outspoken child who exposed a naked emperor in the Hans Christian Andersen tale, have appeared. They are shredding the doctrine of third wave feminism and bringing some sunlight to bear on identitarian politics. Jordan Peterson's stand is exemplar as it has fostered something of a political awakening and reinvigorated the resistance. It can’t stop here, however. To truth-tellers everywhere I say this is your call to arms. The lie of the Emperor's "Sunny Ways" slogan notwithstanding, we shall, with God's help, overcome.
1 Bonokoski: Trudeau’s trade deal with China turns into an embarrassment, Toronto Sun, December 5, 2017, http://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/trudeaus-trade-deal-with-china-turns-into-an-embarrassment
2 Small business tax backlash tops agenda for Liberal caucus retreat, CTV News, November 4, 2017, https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/small-business-tax-backlash-tops-agenda-for-liberal-caucus-retreat-1.3575126
3 Trudeau ‘sorry’ for violating conflict of interest laws with visit to Aga Khan’s island, CBC News, December 20, 2017,http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-ethics-aga-khan-1.4458220
4 Finance minister, Bill Morneau waited 2 years to disclose company that owns his French villa to ethics watchdog, CBC, October 13, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/morneau-company-france-ethics-1.4351933
5 Trudeau has himself to blame for disastrous India trip, Hamilton Spectator, February 23, 2018, https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/8149797-trudeau-has-himself-to-blame-for-disastrous-india-trip/
6 Toronto professor. Jordan Peterson takes on gender-neutral pronouns, BBC News, November 4, 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37875695
7 Watch: Fire me, fine me, jail me. I won’t back down to speech police, says U of T professor, LifeSiteNews, October 28, 2016, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/watch-fire-me-fine-me-jail-me.-i-wont-back-down-to-speech-police-says-u-of
8 Watch Jordan Peterson react to Justin Trudeau’s teliing a woman to say ‘Peoplekind,’ The Steam, February 7, 2018, https://stream.org/watch-jordan-peterson-react-justin-trudeaus-telling-woman-say-peoplekind/
9 The curious star appeal of Jordan Peterson, https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/01/the-curious-star-appeal-of-jordan-peterson/
10 Watch: Cathy Newman’s catastrophic interview with Jordan Peterson, The Spectator, January 17, 2018,
11 Barri Weiss and the Left-Wing infatuation with taking offence, The Atlantic, February 17, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/bari-weiss-immigrants/553550/?utm_source=feed
(c) Futurescapes21C 2018, All rights reserved
For the better part of the last four decades, I have been encouraging people and organizations to anticipate the shape of their futures and plan accordingly. It can be daunting, but it can also be immensely practical. It can be as practical as using a set of binoculars to scope out a distant slope when hiking or winterizing your car before winter’s onslaught. Organizations that develop foresight capabilities are, among other things, creating a kind of organizational radar. This enables them to integrate discernible elements of tomorrow into today’s strategies and decisions.