Re: Peterson doesn't need your permission to speak at Western

It is easy to be concerned about the future of democracy when world leaders seek to muzzle the press and silence dissent. But when the expression of one individual poses an active danger to the security of another, we as citizens are responsible for the defence of the marginalized.

The Editorial Board of the Gazette has not argued that Dr. Peterson should be fired. It has not attempted to grant or rescind ‘permission’ for him to speak. It has merely pointed out that the words of the powerful have powerful consequences.

As an ardent supporter of global democracy, I too fear growing authoritarian sentiment, and so I must agree that rhetoric threatening not just the comfort but the security of marginalized groups does not deserve a more powerful platform than it already has. Figures like Peterson — a white, cisgender, male academic — and recently-disgraced alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who couch their bigotry in the language of democracy, have, by virtue of their power, been given bullhorns far louder than those of most other private citizens.

Why is it the responsibility of Western to provide them another? I am not a ‘triggered snowflake’ crying for a ‘safe space’. I am a student who is aware that words incite actions: dehumanizing messages invite demagogues to turn rhetoric into violence, as demonstrated by the recent wave of threats against Jewish and Islamic centres.

When we defend speech for speech’s sake, we own the consequences of what is said.

— Zayd Khraishi, Environmental Science II