With Jordan Peterson, Occupational Licensing Becomes a Way To Censor
Occupational licensing is a phony guardian of public safety that hikes prices, protects existing practitioners from competition, and raises barriers to work and mobility.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, licensing is now used as a weapon to enforce conformity, with permission to make a living dependent on adherence to the party line. Developments in California and Canada demonstrate that occupational licensing isn’t just an economic mistake, but also a danger to free speech.
“Jordan Peterson is no stranger to controversy,” the National Post‘s Tyler Dawson reported last week. “The Canadian psychologist and cultural commentator has waded into any number of battles since he first rose to fame several years ago. But now, his incendiary remarks about climate change, whether or not overweight people are attractive, and gender dysphoria, have landed him in trouble with the Ontario College of Psychologists—the professional body that regulates the behaviour of clinical psychologists.”
Specifically, the high-profile psychologist revealed in a series of tweets and a subsequent column for the National Post that the Ontario College of Psychologists wants him to “submit to mandatory social-media communication retraining.” His alleged offenses include retweeting comments by the head of the opposition Conservative Party and criticizing Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
For its part, the regulatory body says, “In a decision released on November 22, 2022, the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee decided to require Dr. Jordan Peterson to successfully complete a prescribed Specified Continuing Education or Remedial Program (SCERP). The substance of the SCERP is a Coaching Program to address issues regarding professionalism in public statements.”
Peterson seeks judicial review and says he won’t comply.
The College of Psychologists’ action is creepy in a typically Canadian way, cloaking authoritarianism in the language of concern. But Canada’s record on free speech is already spotty; what relevance could this have for the U.S., where upsetting people is protected by the First Amendment?
Funny you should ask.
“A new California law gives the state unprecedented control over what doctors can say to their patients about COVID-19,” Reason‘s Zach Weissmueller noted of the state’s A.B. 2098, which went into effect at the start of 2023. Under the law, physicians can be punished for sharing COVID-19 “misinformation” with patients. The law defines “misinformation” as advice “contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus,” which is to say, mere dis
Article from Reason.com