A little girl noticed several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her mom’s brunette head.

“Why are some of your hairs white?” she asked.

“Every time you do something wrong, one of my hairs turns white,” her mom answered.

After a thoughtful pause the girl asked, “Why are all of Grandma’s hairs white?”

Speaking of ‘why’, did you ever wonder why a Canadian would be willing to put their livelihood at risk in order to speak to their peers who are in direct opposition? Professor Jordan Peterson is an example of such an individual. A documentary was produced, looking at the internationally famous dispute his talks and books have generated, especially regarding his criticisms of Bill C-16 on speech.

Opponents, activists and scholars say he isn’t concerned about free speech, and advise the professor to be kind and not say whatever he wants. Peterson responds by saying the legislation isn’t concerned with kindness, but with enforcing speech, making it a legal requirement.

Regarding the topic of gender, Peterson observes that gender has been said to be determined biologically, socially, and by personal choice. However, he claims those three things cannot co-exist and can’t all be simultaneously true. When he asked his interviewer if transgenderism was immutable (unable to be changed), no one could answer his question.

He’s been accused of being a community menace, teaching wrong ideas, and spouting conspiracies. All of this and more has resulted in a backlash from his colleagues who called for his dismissal from his university position. Yet on the opposite spectrum, he’s received an outpouring of support.

Nevertheless, his family says it’s stressful for him to put everything at risk, and you have to wonder why he’s willing to do so. What does he hope to achieve? His book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”, gives us some clues.

Peterson says “He would like to see people leading honest and good individual lives and shining a light that way.” As I took a look into the impact his book and talks are having, it appears he is encouraging his listeners and readers to do just that. His book has become an international best seller, but more importantly he receives countless letters from people confiding in him about their addictions and chaotic lives. The one common denominator in all the letters is they all say their lives are so much better after listening to his lectures, as they have followed his advise and endeavored to become the best people they can be. He chokes back tears saying, “That is so rewarding.”

At the same time, those opposing his talks say he’s dangerous because of the kinds of people he attracts. Are they referring to the audiences who are endeavoring to improve their lives? Or are they referring to the protesters outside who are shouting nursery rhyme-like chants? Such chanting would be considered bullying if it took place on a school playground, but when uttered by adult students groomed to become academic professionals, it is somehow acceptable and commendable. What the chanting does do is effectively eliminate reasonable debate and open dialogue.

Peterson not only welcomes reasonable debate and dialogue, but excels at it. He possesses the ability to articulate his discoveries, backed by over three decades of research and experience. This may be why he receives such great opposition; it’s undoubtedly easier to shut him down by chanting than by engaging with him in open dialogue.

Last of all, it comes as no surprise that Peterson’s international best seller didn’t make CBC’s list of top 26 Canadian books to win awards in 2018. Apparently his international best seller isn’t worthy of receiving an award. Did you ever wonder why?

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Joan Janzen
Joan Janzen resides in Kindersley where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, working as a graphic artist, reading, and of course writing. She likes to compare her column 'Check It Out' to crafting a cake. Sweetness of humor and buttery flavor combine with otherwise hard to swallow zucchini-like information, resulting in a flavorful and fulfilling sensation.