Don’t rush to call the words hateful

Re: There is no place for hate on Twitter — July 9

Words matter. Author Navneet Alang accuses Jordan Peterson of hate speech, given that he deliberately misinterpreted Canadian actor Elliot Page who is trans. But what is hate speech? In fact, it is very difficult to define hate speech. Indeed, given Alang’s broad definition of hate speech, his own rant against “hate-filled souls like Jordon Peterson” should itself be classified as hate speech. I prefer to exempt Peterson and Alang from this charge.

Alang claims to be a “free speech maximalist”. But Peterson’s silence on Twitter is certainly not in keeping with a maximalist ideal of free speech. Would the author have liked to have had his own rant against Peterson for being censored from the pages of the Waterloo Region Record? I prefer to have freedom of expression for all.

Finally, the author repeats a description of Peterson as “the stupid man’s smart person”. There is an arrogance there that is disturbing. People who agree with some of Peterson’s ideas are called stupid. And of course, the journalists who are described as the first users of Twitter are said to be the smartest. Oh good? I prefer the culture of intellectual humility for all.

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