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.
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?
During the third hour, Rectenwald gave a synopsis of his new thriller Thought Criminal and his experience as a conservative professor. He explained how he was dismissed by NYU for being a free thinker and exposing social justice agendas on college campuses as it is now entirely impossible to be in academia unless you are a leftist.
Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by Dr. Professor Michael Rectenwald. He was formerly a professor of global liberal studies at NYU from 2008 to 2019. You can find him on Twitter at theAntiPCProf. He’s the author of Thought Criminal, Beyond Woke and Google Archipelago. Welcome, Dr. Rectenwald to the Tennessee Star Report.
Rectenwald: Thank you, Michael. Good to be here.
Leahy: So we have something in common. You are a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Pitt panther. You got a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. I went to high school in Jamestown, New York just about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh. And you probably spent a few summers up I’m guessing at the Chautauqua Institute or know of it, which was near my hometown.
Rectenwald: I’ve absolutely been there.
Leahy: Yep. Great place, although they are so PC these days it’s just unbelievable. You have done some great work. Tell us about your new book Thought Criminal.
Rectenwald: Well, Thought Criminal is a science fiction thriller set in the not-so-distant future in which there is a database called the collective mind and there is a virus that’s been released, the protagonist thinks directly by the state. And the nanobots and then our robot that connects the neurons of the neocortex to the collective mind done controls inputs and outputs therefore of thinking in general. So the idea is to stay free of the virus because we connect you to this database that controls your thoughts. And the hero is attempting to stay disconnected and to retain his own individuality.
Rectenwald: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, Springtime for Hitler is exactly where it came from. And I’m trying to talk about the totalitarian nature of the left and I think that’s become evident by now to just about everybody.
Carmichael: Who do you include on the left?
Rectenwald: Well, ironically I include of course the Democratic Party today who are basically overtly socialist, but also Big Tech ironically, and most of the political establishment in general. But also ironically a lot of corporations are now considered part of the left. And of course, the deep state, or if you will, the intelligence community and the major bureaucracy. So basically it’s the entire social and political establishment at this point.
Carmichael: Now, why do you think that Big Tech and big companies are members of the left?
Rectenwald: Well, I think it’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to do is establish a kind of oligarchy on top with the monopolies basically and nothing else in between monopolies. And the rest of the people effectively are under ‘socialism.’ So it’s a kind of corporate socialism that’s being established.
Carmichael: Well, let me approach it a little differently. Let me use Warren Buffett because Warren Buffett for years has said that he should pay more taxes.
Carmichael: That’s what he said. And then when he has the right the opportunity to ride a large check and send it to the treasury he demurs. So why do you think Warren Buffett for years has said he wants to pay more taxes, but then never has? Why do you think he has said it for years?
Rectenwald: Well, he’s trying to suggest that the oligarchy is benevolent in that they are willing to extend their largesse to the public. But I don’t think that’s really the case. I think they’re very much set on establishing and keeping their oligarchical position and then effectively dueling out whatever they will to the state and then the state to the people.
So really there’s an ongoing concerted effort to destroy the middle class. There’s no question about it. This is why you have all this socialist ideology coming out of every institution. All of Academia. Almost the entire Democratic Party and Big Tech actually promoting socialism. It’s a very ironic circumstance.
Carmichael: I’m going to tell you what I think it is. I think it’s the multi-billionaires trying to protect their multi-billions, and they don’t see the Republican Party as the threat to taxing their wealth. They do see the Democrat Party as a threat so they’re going to throw in with the Democrat Party to help the Democrat Party do what you say and that is destroying the middle class and set themselves up to be on the inner circle of what then becomes a fascist form of government.
Rectenwald: That’s right. It’s fascism but to the extent that it’s the collusion between the state and these corporations or oligarchs. But international fascism if you will. The only difference is it’s not nationalists, it’s globalists.
Leahy: Professor Michael Rectenwald this is Michael Patrick Leahy again, of course, earlier was Crom Carmichael who’s in here as a co-host every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I want to follow up with your own career. You’ve got a fantastic academic background. You left NYU, New York University in 2019. Is it difficult now to continue in the academic world and exercise free thought?
Rectenwald: It’s absolutely impossible. You must be a leftist. There’s no way around it. You have to be a leftist and if you’re not a leftist and you come out basically like I did by criticizing social justice and wokeness, then you’re in trouble. And that’s exactly what happened to me. It’s almost impossible to be in Academia otherwise, you have to hide it. You’d have to completely defect and be a complete socially isolated person and never speak your views once.
Leahy: What’s your plan to combat that personally?
Carmichael: Let’s ask him what happened.
Leahy: What happened to you?
Rectenwald: Well, what happened to me is I started a Twitter account called @TheAntiPCProf and started tweeting criticisms of social justice. And then I was interviewed by the student newspaper where I came out publicly as myself. The Twitter account had been anonymous, and then within two days, I was forced into a paid leave of absence and condemned by a committee called the diversity equity and inclusion group.
Rectenwald: Yeah. And they basically totally trashed my academic career just for making criticisms of what was going on at campuses.
Leahy: So what’s your plan going forward to be an academic public intellectual and make a living in this very different and weird world we live in?
Rectenwald: I’ve created a situation in which I’m basically uncancellable. I write for the Mises Institute and I write books and I live as a public intellectual at this point. I am a completely intellectual entrepreneur. So I don’t rely on any of these institutions for my income because it’s impossible to be a freethinker within these institutions.
Carmichael: I would encourage you that if you are paid to do public speeches that you come up with a number of pseudonyms. (Laughter) You can become an army of 20. They can cancel one speaker and poop you could pop up as another one. (Laughs)
Leahy: Hey, here’s an open invitation when the coronavirus situation improves come on down to Nashville. We will welcome you with open arms and give you an opportunity to speak. And our listeners here on the Tennessee Star Report would be delighted to hear your argument.
Carmichael: And you’ll like Nashville a lot better than wherever you are.
Rectenwald: I like Nashville. My publisher is located in Nashville.
Leahy: Is that Post Hill Press?
Rectenwald: The New English Review Press.
Leahy: I didn’t know about them. We want to meet them. So thanks for letting us know that.
Leahy: Professor Michael Rectenwald, thanks so much for joining us and we look forward to talking with you more.
Carmichael: And meeting him.
Leahy: And meeting you in person.
Rectenwald: Sounds great to me guys. That’s fantastic.