Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, world-renowned clinical psychologist and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Toronto, was asked about the University of Chicago’s new Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity (RDI) during the Chicago stop of his Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life tour, which the Chicago Thinker attended. The questioner, a PhD student at UChicago, expressed concern over the department’s creation, suggesting that “it’ll make it difficult to conduct science.” Peterson interjected, “No, it’ll make it impossible.”
Peterson continued, “You’re a PhD student, you’re supposed to be learning how to pursue the truth. That’s the goal, right? You’re developing expertise in the pursuit of truth… if you’re a scientist and you don’t believe [the truth will set us free], you’re not a scientist.”
He also noted that with regards to intellectual freedom, “The University of Chicago is one of the least corrupted… higher educational institutions, which is not saying much, by the way.”
The establishment of the RDI department came after several UChicago faculty members raised concerns over its potential violation of the Kalven Report, which requires UChicago’s administration to be socially and politically neutral to allow the fullest degree of academic freedom. Dorian Abbot, associate professor of geophysical sciences, has argued that the RDI department “is predicated on a CRT perspective and would not allow full inquiry into the subject from other perspectives,” with economics professor Harald Uhlig voicing similar concerns.
Dr. Peterson ascended into notoriety in 2016 after releasing a series of YouTube videos criticizing mandated gender pronouns in Canada. He recently resigned from his position as a fully tenured professor at the University of Toronto, citing “Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (DIE) imposed universally in academia.”
“I see my colleagues at the universities, the scientists, the STEM types… they have to write a DIE statement and if they don’t get it right… their research isn’t considered for funding. That’s not a problem, that’s a catastrophe, if you think that there’s any utility to the scientific pursuit,” Peterson remarked.
Peterson also emphasized how he has “colleagues, clinical psychologists, [and] professors who have subjected themselves to lectures about implicit racism from halfwit, barely educated ideologues with one percent of their clinical experience and intelligence telling them how to conduct themselves psychologically and they’ll submit themselves to it. You submit to what you submit to. So, be careful what you submit to.”
He similarly underscored the danger of disingenuously complying with DIE mandates: “My colleagues tell me, ‘We have to write these diversity statements, but we sort of… beat around the bush, and we tell them what they want to hear.’ You think you can do that without convincing yourself? You think your words have more impact on other people than they have on you? Who do you think you are? You think you can lie and stop yourself from believing your own lies? God, that’s like arrogance squared.”
Peterson concluded, “Courage is willingness to stand up for the truth when you’re not secure. PhD students, don’t practice what you don’t want to become.”