The Peterson Protests


Convivium, 12 March 2018

Father Raymond de Souza was at a speech given by Jordan Peterson, perusing the foreword to the best-selling author’s latest book, when the mob erupted outside the hall at Queen’s University in Kingston.

It’s sometimes hard to distinguish the show from the sideshow. Both came to Queen’s University last Monday, in the person of Jordan Peterson and those who profess outrage at the professor. 

The show was the inaugural installment in a new law school lecture series on liberty. The sideshow was an unruly and violent protest, complete with banging on doors and windows, the chanting of obscenities and the disruption of the lecture itself.

What was the show? What was the sideshow?

All of the coverage I saw – save for my column in the National Post – treated exclusively the sideshow as the main event. The show – meaning what Peterson said and why so many people are eager to hear it – got little attention at all.

Much attention was given to the woman who broke a window and was subsequently found by the police to be carrying a garrotte. Did she come to strangle Peterson? I don’t know. A 38-year-old who is not a student at Queen’s, I expect that she is, more or less, a professional disrupter. Antagonizing professors and students on a leafy campus is a pretty safe venture, but if she takes her brand of protest to a mining or logging site, she might not be so confident about the reaction she would encounter. So a few intimidating weapons are likely standard items in her kit.

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