Dr. Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist, best-selling author, hugely popular lecturer, and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, has announced through his social media posts that the College of Psychologists of Ontario has ordered him to undergo re-education therapy for his very public views, not on professional psychology and science, but mere politics. He is being threatened with the loss of his professional license if he does not submit to this outlandish demand that amounts to thought control.
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) January 4, 2023
This diktat from the College of Psychologists officially charges Peterson with lacking “professionalism in public statements on social media and during a January 25, 2022, podcast appearance.” Peterson must therefore admit that “I undertake to work with either [one of two specified people, one a Ph.D., the other a nurse] to review, reflect on and ameliorate my professionalism in public statements.”
He must also “complete the Coaching Program” and “the coach may, at their discretion, request that the Registrar shorten or extend the Coaching Program” based on their appraisal of Peterson’s re-education progress.
The official parameters also state Jordan must agree that “If the Coach provides any unfavorable information about my practice, the Registrar may proceed to investigate new concerns…” Peterson is also required to agree that,
I understand that if the Coach does not provide a final report indicating that the acknowledged concerns, above, have been appropriately remediated in the public interest, I will not be considered to have successfully complied with this Undertaking.
Of course, this means Peterson would be submitting himself to a process of re-education that would last as long as those inflicting this injustice desire. And yes, this is itself a form of psychological and emotional manipulation.
Peterson is also required to pay for this re-education out of his own pocket, agreeing to be “fully responsible for any and all costs associated” with this possibly endless process. The stated cost is “an hourly rate not to exceed $225…”
This is such a serious matter Peterson was told by the college in its communication with him that he should “seek qualified legal advice” and must agree to all its conditions or lose his license to practice his profession.
Peterson immediately submitted a special statement on this requirement to the National Post, Canada’s national newspaper, explaining, “I will risk my licence to escape social media re-education.”
He wisely explained as well,
For my crimes, I have been sentenced to a course of mandatory social-media communication training with the college’s so-called experts (although social media communication training is not a scientific and certainly not a clinical specialty of any standing).
I am to do this at my own expense (some hundreds of dollars per hour) and for a length of time that is to be determined only by those retraining me and profiting from doing so. How will this be determined? When those very re-educators — those experts — have convinced themselves that I have learned my lesson, and will behave properly in the future.
Peterson properly asks in his Post piece, “What exactly have I done that is so seriously unprofessional that I am now a danger not only to any new potential clients but to the public itself?”
He answers his own question in length,
It is hard to tell with some of the complaints (one involved the submission of the entire transcript of a three-hour discussion on the Joe Rogan podcast), but here are some examples that might produce some reasonable concern among Canadians who care about such niceties as freedom of belief, conscience and speech:
I retweeted a comment made by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre about the unnecessary severity of the COVID lockdowns;
I criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau;
I criticized Justin Trudeau’s former chief of staff, Gerald Butts;
I criticized an Ottawa city councillor; and
I made a joke about the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.
I did all that “disrespectfully,” by the way, in a “horrific” manner that spread “misinformation”; that was “threatening” and “harassing”; that was “embarrassing to the profession.”
Peterson rightly points out “Every single one of these accusations (and now accepted evidence of my professional misconduct) is independent of my clinical practice.” These are political statements made by a citizen and do not fall under the domain of his professional work as a clinician.
The National Post is reporting the “Ontario College of Psychology says it’s unable to discuss why it is allegedly taking disciplinary action and trying to force social media training on Canadian commentator and psychologist Jordan Peterson.”
It is worth noting that Professor Peterson came to fame when the University of Toronto, where he taught, tried to require him to use gender pronouns. He adamantly refused, claiming that no one had the right compel him to say certain words or obey certain speech codes. He rightly argued that refusing such demands was a fundamental principle of classical Liberalism. He publicly wondered why more of his colleagues in the Academy were not also taking similar stands on principle.
The National Posts reports,
Indeed, Peterson threatens to make “every single word of this legal battle fully public.”
“I’m going to say what I have to say, and let the chips fall where they will. I have done nothing to compromise those in my care; quite the contrary — I have served all my clients and the millions of people I am communicating with to the best of my ability and in good faith, and that’s that,” he writes.
Dr. Peterson simply believes the “wrong” things politically. And he believes those things out loud before an audience of millions. That is what this diktat is seeking to root out and reform. Such behavior should concern all people, regardless of political stripe.
The college notes on its official profile of Peterson that “Dr. Peterson has filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review with the Ontario Divisional Court.”
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