quillette | The difference between the specifics of BillC-16 and the actual sweep of control it exerts over language is worrisome, especially now, when subjectivity rules and the definition of a hate crime can be decided by anyone who says they are a victim. If the past is any indication of the future, special interest groups — like those Cossman and Bryson support — will use that sweep, and the mob power behind it, either to expand the scope of the law or to make its words mean exactly what they want. This is what Peterson has been saying: not using the correct gender pronouns, especially in a government run institution like a university, can (and likely will) be classified as a hate crime, whether that crime is handled by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which is expensive and can result in financial ruin, or the criminal courts, which can result in a criminal record and jail time.
Cossman’s dissembling over these dangers is part of an established pattern of dissembling that many professors of Women Studies believe is necessary. For them, creative lying is compensation for the injustices women have endured for centuries. It’s a shady brand of feminism that gained momentum in the late 80s and receded in the 90s. However, judging by the vigour and confusion of the protesters supporting it now, it’s made a very successful, if malignant, comeback.
The real tragedy? Minority rights are worth protecting, but the configuration of suffering put forth by professors Cossman and Bryson is idiosyncratic, belonging to an incestuous academic sphere spinning on its own nepotism. When Bryson tries to refute decades of empirical data with her unfalsifiable social-constructionist theories it is a sign the incest has gone too far. A “body of work” may indeed suggest that biological sex isn’t an accurate reflection of everyone’s reality. But the real question is, is this body of work actually worth anything?