Who doesn’t love a good origin story (Book of Genesis, A Brief History of Time, Batman Begins)?
Two years ago, almost to the day, a child was born in the little town of … Sorry, my mistake, let me start again. It’s those damn far-too-early Christmas carols.
Two years ago, almost to the day (Nov. 29, 2017), the University of Toronto’s Varsity newspaper carried the bold, not to say ominous, headline: “Hundreds sign open letter to U of T admin calling for Jordan Peterson’s termination.”
The story underneath bristled with comminations of Peterson’s “gross misconduct,” his “efforts at agitation … inflammatory denunciations … evident connections to white supremacists … disruptive behaviour.” U of T’s administration had acknowledged the “danger he posed both to students and faculty” it claimed, and if he didn’t comply with “the law, the Ontario Human Rights Code and university policy” (I paraphrase) his academic goose was cooked, his copybook irredeemably blotted, and his career as a professor would soon be as one with the fates of the Norwegian Blue, the great auk, the dodo and (among the unsophisticated) red wine with fish.
And how did Peterson respond? Well, thank the stars, he didn’t flee into Egypt or, as being more proximate and fairly cheap with Air Miles, Vermont. He stood his well-reasoned ground, exhibited stores of that most fugitive of academic virtues — intellectual courage — and more or less told the pack of puerile leftlings chasing him with pitchforks and torches that their grandmothers wore severely unstylish army boots.