Former NYU Professor and Thought Criminal Author Michael Rectenwald: The American University System Is Rotten to the Core
Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed former NYU Professor and author of Thought Criminal and other titles, Michael Rectenwald in studio to promote his book signing and what makes him a thought criminal.
Leahy: We welcome to our microphones in studio, our very favorite thought criminal, Michael Rectenwald! Welcome, Michael.
Rectenwald: Hey, thanks for having me, Michael. It’s great to be here.
Leahy: You are a recovering academic. You actually had a problem in academia because you thought academia was about freedom of speech and freedom of thought and intellectual integrity. You were on the faculty at New York University. (Chuckles)
Rectenwald: Yes, that’s right. And then I actually used my academic freedom, which was my first big mistake.
Leahy: I know. Big mistake. They need to tell you, that once you get your PhD, no academic freedom allowed. You have a book signing today. I want to encourage everyone in our listening audience to go to this book signing.
It’s at 12:30 p.m. It’s at Elders Bookstore. Where is Elders Bookstore you might ask? It’s at 101 White Bridge Pike, right across from Tech College. 12:30 p.m.
Now if you’d like to reserve a signed copy, call 615-352-1562. Michael, you’ve written the Thought Criminal, which is a great book. And the other books.
Crom, you don’t know the names of these books, let me tell you. One is called Springtime for Snowflakes. (Laughter) The other is Google Archipelago, Beyond Woke, and Thought Criminal. What’s it like being a thought criminal Michael?
Rectenwald: It’s dangerous. It’s very dangerous. And one feels as if one is being chased. And especially on the Internet, where thoughts are not very insidiously policed.
Leahy: Tell us some of your dangerous thoughts here.
Rectenwald: I have this idea that there’s actually two sexes.
Rectenwald: Yes. And I can’t believe it. I just can’t banish the thought that there are two sexes and not like 72.
Leahy: Michael, you are obviously a thought criminal.
Rectenwald: Yeah, it’s dangerous. I’m telling you, Michael.
Carmichael: Did you say or do something in particular that caused New York University to…
Rectenwald: Yes. I started a Twitter account called the AntiPCNYUProf. And I started tweeting about things like Halloween costumes and how you couldn’t wear a costume because it would trigger somebody.
The way they were throwing speakers off of campuses for having other than leftist views. They instituted a biased reporting hotline where the students could report their professors for microaggression or other offenses.
Leahy: Not only are you a thought criminal, but Michael you are also a microaggressor.
Rectenwald: I am.
Leahy: Crom, how can we have him in our studio?
Carmichael: But I’m interested about because you obviously you are a teacher. You are a professor because you cared about our youth.
Carmichael: If people like you are not allowed to be teachers and professors, if they’re not, how can our youth development intellectually?
Rectenwald: It’s an outrage. What we’re dealing with right now… And you get into this in your book?
Carmichael: Because this is why Michael, this book is so important.
Rectenwald: It really is. It’s not competence that’s being judged based on your confidence. You’re judged based on your identity and your politics.
That’s it. We don’t have competent professors. We have all kinds of affirmative action hires and advancements and promotions.
Carmichael: But what does it mean for the kids and the students?
Rectenwald: What it means is they’re not getting educated. I was just talking to my publisher last night and I said, you know, students don’t even know what the parts of speech are. They don’t know anything about writing or how to think.
Leahy: They haven’t been taught the basics. How to read, how to write, how to do mathematics, how to think logically.
Carmichael: That was the word for me. It sounds like that if you tried to teach a class on logic, on how to come to a conclusion, how to assimilate the information, to come to a correct conclusion, that would be politically incorrect.
Rectenwald: As a matter of fact, that could be an offense. Logic is masculinist and white supremacy.
Leahy: Of course logic is masculinity.
Carmichael: It’s just fascinating.
Leahy: And masculinity is one of the 72 genders and apparently the least favored.
Rectenwald: Oh, absolutely the least favorite. It’s at the bottom of the hierarchy. The social justice hierarchy takes the putative hierarchy and flips it upside down.
Leahy: You’ve got this book Thought Criminal. You are obviously a dangerous thought criminal. We are really going on the edge by allowing you in the studio today.
Leahy: We are brave here Crom. We are being very brave.
Carmichael: Well, we’ve known that.
Leahy: Yeah, of course. But do you have any solutions for this general problem of lack of intellectual honesty at the university level and, of course, other elements of education in America?
Rectenwald: The American university system is rotten to the core.
Leahy: Rotten to the core.
Rectenwald: So what I suggest is competition from the outside, competing parallel structures and institutions to take them head on with competition.
Leahy: Competition and education. What an unusual idea.
Carmichael: I agree with what you’re saying. In theory, when one side has all the money and all the resources and all the power, I believe in competition but in order to have true competition, you have to have a level playing field.
If I were a football team and I got the top 30 draft picks every year, I probably could overcome bad coaching, so I could probably overcome a poor product. So my question is, how should people that gain power in government use that power?
Rectenwald: Excellent point.
Carmichael: To bring about a truly competitive environment.
Rectenwald: First of all, all state colleges and universities should be reviewed in terms of their hiring practices and other promotions so that you would have an oversight board over these colleges and universities to make sure that they’re actually hiring people on the basis of competence.
Leahy: We’re talking about state colleges and universities.
Leahy: You’ve worked at a private college, but have you worked at state colleges also?
Rectenwald: Yes, I did in North Carolina.
Leahy: Which one?
Rectenwald: It was called North Carolina Central University.
Leahy: Was there a different experience working at a public college versus a private?
Rectenwald: Well, yeah, the public one was underfunded and basically corrupt. The private one was overfunded and corrupt.
Leahy: Oh so the choice then is, underfunded and corrupt versus overfunded and corrupt. Which is more dangerous?
Rectenwald: The overfunded and corrupt.
Listen to the interview:
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Photo “Dr. Michael Rectenwald” by Dr. Michael Rectenwald.