Australian and US universities the new Commissariat…ideological policing by academia
by Alex Bruce
Dr. Michael Rectenwald was a professor at New York University and he jokingly describes himself as having been a lifelong Communist, “to the Left of the Bolsheviks” before he ran afoul of his wokester peers in academe.
His story is very similar to my own, in that he was basically a professor of cultural criticism, which was my major. The analyses consisted largely of Marxist Deconstructivism. He could have been my professor. Like me, he was a Leftist until very recently, when his slight deviation from the party line revealed the shocking, totalitarian impulses hiding behind a thin veneer of egalitarian rhetoric.
Like me, he’s now swinging from the rafters and shouting from the rooftops about the pox of Leftism and his Twitter posts look exactly like mine!
His bestselling book, ‘The Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom’ is about how Big Tech, influenced by Marxist and Postmodernist thought increasingly enables a toxic mix of censorship, surveillance, social engineering and ‘social justice’ policies that, in effect create a digital equivalent of the Soviet gulag.
It is this climate that enabled the unprecedented collaboration between Big Tech, with the mass media and the intelligence agencies to saturate the infosphere with their chosen narrative and to ban all others.
As he says here, “We have a soft Cultural Revolution going on in the United States and the West, in general. We need people to stand up to this Cultural Revolution and just speak back to these new Red Guards.
“We’re being surveilled upon, our opinions are being monitored and dissidents are being disappeared, just as they were during the Soviet Union. They’re being digitally erased or deleted…”
He joins The Epoch Times’ Jan Jekielek for what I feel may be the most important interview that I have covered in 9 years of publishing FKTV. I’ve transcribed some of the highlights below.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: There’s this exclusive domination [on college campuses] of a particular ideological Leftism which is called “Social Justice”. It’s a misnomer, if you ask me but it’s a very rigid creed of identity politics and a kind of adherence to sort of inverse hierarchy, in order to debunk the so-called “oppressors” from the top and put them on the bottom. It is instituted at NYU and universities all across the country; 230 universities at least have instituted what they call “bias reporting” hotlines, in which students are encouraged to report the bias infractions of their professors or fellow students.
So – very much like Communist Soviet Union and Communist China – this kind of ideological policing that was going and that I found very disturbing and everybody was going along for the ride. The no-platforming of speakers, the way that the Left shut down any ideological diversity from appearing on campus at all; burning campuses down, like in Berkeley, when speakers were invited that they didn’t approve of.
Then, of course other things like trigger warnings on syllabi…it’s a slippery slope toward ideological conformity…For example, ‘Dante’s Inferno’ has been stricken from curricula because it has a depiction of Muhammad in one of the circles of Hell. This is one of the greatest books and one of the greatest poems in the Western canon and it’s a shame that the Western canon is being eradicated. Also, for example at the University of Pennsylvania, they took down from the [web] portal the picture of Shakespeare, because he’s a white male… a university in London struck all white philosophers from the philosophy curriculum…
I thought it was censorship. I thought it was ideological conformity being forced on professors and students, I thought it was a…narrowbanding of our intellectual capacities and as kind of an indoctrination of students, rather than teaching; rather than exposing students to diverse perspectives it was…funneling them into a particular perspective and that really disturbed me.
Jan Jekielek: Fascinating. How did the faculty respond to your complaints?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Well, I did an interview for a reporter for the Washington Square News, which is the student newspaper at NYU. Within two days of this interview appearing in their online and print edition, I was denounced by a committee calling themselves the “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group”, which I’ve since dubbed the “Conformity, Inequity and Exclusion Group” because they demand ideological conformity. They attempt to exclude anyone who doesn’t conform and you’re certainly not considered a peer, if you have views that differ from theirs and then I was put on an immediate paid leave of absence, as well.
So I was basically banished from the University for a semester and punished with this ideological condemnation by an official committee of the university.
Jan Jekielek: So you were basically an early recipient of Cancel Culture.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Very much so. Before Cancel Culture existed, I was a victim of Cancel Culture…
The things I want to make clear is that these the Big Digital is not some politically neutral set of principles or companies Big Digital consists of a bunch of left-leaning authoritarians and they’re doing so they have the same ideological character in a softer sense of course as the CCP.
Jan Jekielek: OK, so that that’s a big thing to say. You’re gonna you’re gonna have to offer some pretty solid evidence here.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: There’s a ton of evidence that shows that the Google stacks their search results in a Left-leaning way. All this has been shown by Dr. Robert Epstein and it was exposed by Project Veritas. Google has a worldview that’s reflected both in their algorithms; their outward-facing algorithms and their internal policies. Their internal policies show that they favor almost all kinds of Leftists views about identity. They’re very, very strong in encouraging transgenderism, they’re very strong in discouraging anything like traditional ideas about gender, they also have extremely Left-leaning views about the political economy. They have monopolistic ambitions, I think and they also have state functions. They are – first of all Google was started by funding from the CIA – and that’s not to prove that they have a state function but they also keep they continue to cooperate with the state… Read the rest of this entry