Controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson has responded to critics of his planned appearance at a University of Amsterdam event on Wednesday as ‘cowards, denouncers and totalitarian wannabes’.
Some 80 members of staff plus student organisations had signed an open letter calling on the event organisers to invite a second guest to counteract Peterson’s views. This is necessary, they said, because they are ‘concerned about the emergence of the extreme right and normalisation of his ideas’.
In particular, Peterson has a ‘conservative, patriarchal, anti-feminist, anti-climate science and politically-incorrect world view’, the letter signatories said.
In his response, Peterson, who has a sold-out appearance at the De La Mar theatre on Tuesday night, said that if he was concerned with an easy life, he would avoid the event altogether.
‘But there is no bloody way I am going to allow your ill-informed faux-virtuous pathological compassion, and effortless careless indications of your purported moral, intellectual, scientific and academic superiority to stop me from talking to three hundred of your students,’ he said in a blog post.
Peterson, a clinical psychologist who has gained notoriety with his analyses of social and political problems, was invited by the Room for Discussion platform to talk about divisions in society, under the flag ‘Society in Crisis’.
Room for Discussion rejected calls for a second speaker but has allocated 20 minutes at the end of Peterson’s talk for open discussion.
The event has also been restricted to university students ‘in order to guarantee the safety of our audience’. The event will also be live-streamed via Facebook.
On Thursday, 11 social science faculty members called on the university’s board to issue a statement reaffirming that ‘non discrimination and equality’ are basic UvA values.
We ‘urge you to take a stand against attempts to dehumanise members of its community by publishing a written statement that confirms our university’s commitment to non-discrimination and equality, and explicitly denounces challenges to them,’ the letter states.
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