Campus News

Controversial speaker, criticized for stance on LGBTQ issues, tackles ‘political indoctrination’ in UW-Madison speech

Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor and author, spoke at UW-Madison Thursday.

Image By: Photo courtesy of Creative Commons - Peterson Lecture

A speaker who many on the left have derided as “transphobic” came to UW-Madison Thursday for a talk on “political indoctrination” on college campuses.

The Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UW-Madison invited Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, author and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, to speak to its members and other students. Peterson is best known for making headlines last year due to his opposition of Canada’s Bill C16, which adds gender identity and expression as a protected class.

In Peterson’s speech, aptly titled “Political Indoctrination on Campus,” he described many philosophies and ideologies through a historical and psychological lens, explaining the problems that come along with current campus political discourse.

According to Peterson, the answer to a polarized atmosphere is not to further radicalize or move to either side of the political spectrum.

”The only solution I’ve been able to figure out is that it’s up to the individuals in our society to sort themselves out and to strengthen themselves — to become wise and alert and to shoulder the responsibility of being,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s lecture covered hundreds of years of history, varying political ideologies, mythology and countless other topics. A recurring idea, though, was individualism and the behavior, function and thought processes of human beings in society.

“If you have enough courage to forthrightly accept the fact that you’re vulnerable and malevolent, and you’re willing to do something about it to overcome it, you can develop enough respect for yourself that the terrible weight of being will not make you malevolent and corrupt,” Peterson said.

Peterson has been criticized for not using preferred pronouns when speaking to students and others, and as a counter-event to his talk, the Associated Students of Madison's Equity and Inclusion Committee held a Pronouns Workshop on the same night. 

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