Popular author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson’s license is now being targeted by the Ontario College of Psychologists for the dubious ills of questioning authority and “rubbing at least a few of them the wrong way now and then” as he puts it. 

Instead of cowering to what was previously known as ‘cancel culture,’ something Peterson has a history of walking towards when provoked, he again activated. 

The news broke by Peterson himself on his Twitter page of 3.7 million strong followers with this post: 

Twitter analytics shows the post was viewed 25.3 million times at the time of this writing. 

He then penned an op-ed in the National Post titled I will risk my licence to escape social media re-education’The Ontario College of Psychologists wants to retrain me to behave properly — and this should concern everyone

In the piece he describes what he is up against writing: 

For my crimes, I have been sentenced to a course of mandatory social-media communication training with the college’s so-called experts. I am to do this at my own expense and for a length of time that is to be determined only by those retraining me and profiting from doing so. How will this be determined? When those very re-educators — those experts — have convinced themselves that I have learned my lesson, and will behave properly in the future.

What were those crimes exactly? Peterson states the following: 

I retweeted a comment made by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre about the unnecessary severity of the COVID lockdowns;

• I criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau;

• I criticized Justin Trudeau’s former chief of staff, Gerald Butts;

• I criticized an Ottawa city councillor; and

• I made a joke about the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.

While the Ontario College of Psychologists waited in vain for their perceived victim to surrender, he instead went on the offensive. A poll ran by Peterson on his Twitter page saw 88.8% of over 77,000 people vote that his accusers at the Ontario College of Psychologists should apologize and resign – a poll seen by over 2.7 million viewers according to Twitter analytics.   

Peterson has also filed an application for judicial review with the Ontario Divisional Court to defend his license against the allegations. 

Unlike previous attempts to cancel popular figures with prominent public platforms, the subsequent deluge of pile on articles came not to attack him, but rather side with him. 

A trend has emerged. It didn’t start with Peterson yet he represents another large, excruciatingly painful step empowering humanity back from the abyss of an all-encompassing cancel culture that has become so commonplace. 

A previous step was walked by podcaster Joe Rogan who faced down similar headwinds for openly debating aspects of the Covid lockdown response, therapies he took like ivermectin and vaccines. 

For those crimes, Rogan’s parent company Spotify faced increasing calls to drop their recently signed talent at that time. Spotify Must ‘Take Action’ to Block Joe Rogan’s Podcast COVID Misinformation, Health Professionals urged one headline. Artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell threatened to pull their music from the streaming platform if action wasn’t taken against Rogan’s ‘coronavirus misinformation spreading.’ 

But both the brand stood and Rogan didn’t waiver and Spotify also removed Neil Young’s songs choosing Rogan’s free speech over Young’s threat. 

A effort by CNN to place a medical influencer on Rogan’s podcast in an attempt to sort him out led to further disaster when Sanjay Gupta received a hard, public lesson to how far media has progressed outside of his echo-chamber at CNN 

Peterson’s current journey in facing down a growing academic cancel culture is far from over. Moving past simple public peer pressure, bills in both Canada and the U.S. are lining up to punish professionals who speak out of line. 

California’s new Covid misinformation law is now in effect threatening disciplinary action against medical professionals who speak out of the narrow lanes of government health talking points.

Not to be outdone, Canada’s Bill 36 would allow for the imposition of fines up to $200,000, property seizure, and jail-time for physicians who give “misleading information to patients or the public.”  

Street protests in support for Peterson are now happening in Canada along with a growing swell of support from the public, academic and media spaces. Two ideas whose times have come are now regularly meeting head-to-head – the freedom to speak and openly debate vs. institutional censorship. Which world do you want to live in?   

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.