I thought this was a made up story when it was first told to me. Who would believe that hat a lawyer would face a complaint to the NZ Law Society because he referred approvingly of Jordan Petersen in an article.
Surely in the legal profession of all places, where courtroom arguments are about forceful advocacy, you would not find lawyers who want to censor another lawyer because they don’t like someone he referred to.
But alas it is true. A shining example of the anti speech fascism that is becoming culturally ingrained.
Thomas Bloy published an article on LinkedIn about MeToo and Diversity. The Law Society asked if they could republish it on their site, and did so here.
He starts off saying:
The MeToo movement and the push for diversity in the workplace are indisputably good causes. I’m glad diversity and inclusion are high on the agenda. And it is a good thing that the rotten attitudes and behaviour of various lawyers, particularly of male senior lawyers towards female junior lawyers and students, are being exposed.
He points out:
Here’s an example of how diversity and inclusion works in practice. Tamina and I started a law firm and software company together. We are also great friends. Is that because she is a woman? Gay? Maori? Asian? Hell no. It is because Tamina is an intelligent, creative, hard- working, and compassionate individual who happens to be a great lawyer (and likes South Park). Those are the aspects of her identity that matter. Reducing a person to a demographics category is dehumanising.
I agree that liking Southpark is very important!
So far so good.
But he also wrote:
This weird impulse, of wanting to rip down an established hierarchy only to replace it with a risky, usually unnecessary, and inevitably flawed new one, is dangerous. I like the way Professor Jordan Peterson, arguably the most influential public intellectual in the world right now, has been explaining the nature of hierarchies recently.
So he said he likes something Jordan Peterson wrote, and said that Peterson is influential.
A week later a body called the NZ Women’s Law Journal responded saying:
However, there is one aspect of Mr Bloy’s article that merits particular criticism, and which was the subject of a complaint by us to LawPoints and the Law Society.
Now I thought you complain to the Law Society about a lawyer because he or she is incompetent, a crook, an unfit person, has let clients down, acted unethically etc. So what is it that Bloy did that made them complain to the Law Society.
Mr Bloy says: “This weird impulse, of wanting to rip down an established hierarchy only to replace it with a risky, usually unnecessary, and inevitably flawed new one, is dangerous. I like the way Professor Jordan Peterson, arguably the most influential public intellectual in the world right now, has been explaining the nature of hierarchies recently.” (emphasis added).
A quick Google search (for those who are not well acquainted with Peterson’s vitriol) reveals that Peterson’s work is described as a “gospel of masculinity” and he is widely regarded as racist, sexist and transphobic.
So this is what we come to. This group of lawyers complained about Mr Bloy not because he himself is racist, sexist and transphobic, but he because he quoted someone whom they believe to be the following.
I imagine Winston Churchill is regarded as racist, sexist and transphobic. Let’s strike off lawyers who quote Churchill.
Those lawyers should be ashamed for trying to suppress by making it an offence for a lawyer to quote Jordan Petersen. This is ironically why millions now follow Petersen, because of idiots like the New Zealand Women’s Law Journal.
They even complain:
The Law Society has told us that it is committed to encouraging openness and transparency and sharing a diversity of views and opinions. But what if those opinions are bad or harmful?
So they think views they deem bad should not be allowed. Fascists.
Mr Bloy’s views cause much more harm to people than certain other views.
It’s not just Petersen they think should be censored but also Bloy. His article is now deemed harmful.
For effs sake. These people should not be lawyers. If anyone should face disciplinary action, it should be then for being a disgrace to the legal profession.
So who makes up this body? It is hard to tell who actually wrote the complaint and supports it. But here are their various components:
Journal’s Advisory Board members are:
Her Honour Justice S Glazebrook, Supreme Court
Her Honour Justice S Thomas, High Court
Mary Scholtens QC, Stout Street Chambers
Lady Deborah Chambers QC, Bankside Chambers
Kate Davenport QC, Bankside Chambers
Frances Joychild QC, Litigation Group
Journal’s Academic Review Board members are:
Associate Professor Julia Tolmie, University of Auckland
Khylee Quince, Auckland University of Technology
Associate Professor Linda Te Aho, University of Waikato
Brenda Midson, University of Waikato and New Zealand Law Journal
Associate Professor Yvette Tinsley, Victoria University
Professor Elisabeth McDonald, University of Canterbury
Professor Annick Masselot, University of Canterbury
Associate Professor Nicola Wheen, University of Otago
Helen McQueen, Commissioner, Law Commission
Natalie Walker, Kayes Fletcher Walker
Daisy Williams, Shortland Chambers
Stephanie Marsden, Canterbury Chambers
Lieutenant Colonel Jane Derbyshire, New Zealand Defence ForceEditors-in-ChiefAna Lenard, Associate at Gilbert WalkerAllanah Colley, Judges’ Clerk at the Wellington High Court.Deputy Editors
Josie Te Rata
Poppy Mitchell Anyon
The complaint was lade on behalf of the NZWLJ so one can’t know how many of the above concurred to it. Maybe it was just one editor. We can’t know. But I know I’d be ashamed to be associated with a body that complains about a fellow lawyer simply because you dislike someone he quotes in an article.
UPDATE: Ana Lenard, an editor-in-chief has e-mailed to say:
- I did not make a complaint under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act against Mr Bloy, and I agree that would be an inappropriate use of the complaints system. It was poor wording on my part – by “complaint”, I meant that I emailed Kathryn Beck and asked for her to (a) confirm there would be a process in place in future for reviewing references and (b) remove the line from Mr Bloy’s article referring to Jordan Petersen. I made a “complaint” in the informal sense – not in the professional sense that is discussed in your article.
- You queried who wrote the article. I did, and am solely and personally responsible for its contents. I don’t mind you going after me personally for it, if that’s what you wish to do. I just want to be clear that none of the other women on our boards or staff had anything to do with it.