"Woke capitalism"--referring to companies that engage in corporate activism--tells us a great deal about contemporary corporate capitalism, the political left, and the relationship between the two.Read More
You write: "It doesn’t include mainstream libertarians, moderate Republicans, or philosophical conservatives, although there is a compelling argument to be made that white nationalists have hi-jacked the GOP. All included are public figures and/or publicly recognizable organizations. I have not drawn a hard and fast distinction between these classifications."
Might that be because you are a not a scholar but rather a sloppy slinger of plug-n-play "social justice" argot and meme-laden tripe? Just for example, you have my name listed beside "Citizens for Legitimate Government" (which is now CLG News). I sold the website over fifteen years ago, and maybe once a year, or once every two years, contribute an article to the site. Otherwise, I have nothing to do with it. The assignation of the site to me is the equivalent of calling a freelance contributor to the Nation its owner--oh, I mean "governor."
Criticism of political correctness was supposed to be the exclusive province of the rightwing. For most observers, it was almost inconceivable that an anti-P.C. critic could come from another political quarter. Unsurprisingly, then, the majority of people who discovered my case, including some reporters, simply assumed that I was a conservative. As one Twitter troll put it: “You’re anti-P.C.? You must be a rightwing nut-job.” But as I explained in numerous interviews and essays, I was not a Trump supporter; I was never a right-winger, or an alt-right-winger; I was never a conservative of any variety. Hell, I wasn’t even a classical John Stuart Mill liberal.
In fact, for several years, I had identified as a left communist. My politics were to the left (and considerably critical of the authoritarianism) of Bolshevism!Read More
Click on title above for video.
“Michael Rectenwald was a professor at New York University who described himself as a full blown Communist. But when he committed the mortal sin of [against] collectivism, which is to question the wisdom of the party line …. The process was enlightening because it allowed Professor Rectenwald to see that leftist ideology is merely a velvet glove that covers an iron fist.”
Corrections: The bias reporting hotline was instituted in the fall of 2016, not 2014. Two, I was never fired from NYU but rather retired voluntarily and on “amicable” term.
Professor Rectenwald will be a speaker at Red Pill Expo in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 7 at 2:30 PM.. His topic is Leftism, Leftism Everywhere. Tickets are available here.
In this essay, I consider several stages in the developing relationship between “useful knowledge” and literary culture. First, I discuss the rise of the useful knowledge movement in early nineteenth-century Britain. The useful knowledge movement can be traced to the gentlemanly educational and social reformers of the late eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century. The utilitarian coterie known as the “philosophical radicals” criticized the established educational institutions in Britain as antiquated and deficient. They developed new educational plans and systems, based largely on the economic and social conditions emerging with nascent industrialism. I argue that useful knowledge—associated with an understanding of the material world as opposed to literature, classical languages, and theology—was an educational carrier of and source for what became modern science by the end of the nineteenth century.
What, if anything, might this early nineteenth-century discourse regarding useful knowledge offer the contemporary moment as some try to reclaim universities from their obeisance to “social justice” and its propagandistic hijacking of higher education?
Obviously, I had by now known and accepted the premise that English Studies was a battlefield of “textual politics,” and that the players made no bones about their agendas. Previously, critics in the field, like the old New Critics with their plodding close reading of texts, had pretended to be neutral, but their neutrality was merely a thin scrim for cultural domination. Dead white men had ruled the English canon long enough. But this was only the most flagrant of offenses. Other suspects were singled out for prosecution – including an exclusive focus on the text itself (New Criticism), assuming the centrality or superiority of European culture (Eurocentrism), implicitly endorsing heterosexuality as a norm (heteronormativity), believing that humanity is exceptional and that individual humans have unitary selves (humanism), believing in an essence of human nature and/or in the essence of essential types of humans such as racial groups and women and men (essentialism), the belief that neutral knowledge is discoverable by scientific means (positivism), the belief that words might faithfully represent an external reality (logocentrism), and the privileging of the masculine in the construction of meaning (phallogocentrism) – among others. Every one of these notions or beliefs has been treated as a villain, a laughing stock, or both.Read More
Ideology includes creedal commitments and narrative elements that vary depending on the ideology in question—as well as cognition-framing templates, or if you prefer matrix metaphors, consciousness-structuring codes. Some argue that the sine qua non of ideology is an organizing central element, the kernel around which the elements of ideology coalesce and are assembled into a whole.
In The Supreme Object of Ideology, the Slovenian Marxist and Lacanian psychoanalytic theorist Slavoj Žižek, following the French psychoanalytic theorist Jacques Lacan, makes this claim and calls the central, organizing element le point de capiton, or the “quilting point,” the “anchoring point,” the element that holds an ideology together and around which a consistent perspective can be maintained.Read More
Contrary to the allegations of its founders and followers, communism is not primarily an economic system; it is fundamentally political. Its true character is evinced not in its “equitable” (whatever that means) distribution of wealth, but rather in its political arrangements.
And what are those political arrangements? Above and without all else, communism is totalitarianism, leftist totalitarianism, totalitarianism with communist characteristics.
Had my dad understood it, my graduate school enrollment in “Literary and Cultural Theory” would have struck him as tantamount to madness, like self-commitment to an insane asylum. After the Ginsberg apprenticeship, which definitively ended any remaining prospects I had for medical school, he wouldn’t have had tears left to cry…..
So, twelve years after the Ginsberg apprenticeship and after working in broadcast advertising for nine years, by my early thirties, I finally decided to become a literature professor. Read more…
On September 12, 2016, I established a Twitter account with the name “Deplorable NYU Prof” and the official handle @antipcnyuprof. This Twitter identity – replete with Friedrich Nietzsche avatar – represented a satirical character wielded by a self-proclaimed but anonymous NYU professor apparently gone rogue. As with all satire, the mockery was over-the-top, but the intended effect was serious criticism. The Twitter account allowed me to air views that I felt reluctant to issue under my real name, and to render them without undu circumspection.
Some major corporations now intervene in social and political issues and controversies, partaking in a new corporate activism. The newly “woke” corporations support activist groups and social movements, while adding their voices to political debates. Woke capitalism has endorsed Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo Movement, contemporary feminism, LGBTQ rights, and immigration activism, among other leftist causes .… The Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Yousif Almoayyed, was delivered at the Mises Institute on March 22, 2019. The video of the talk can be found here. Originally published in the new English review the New English Review.Read More
Some major corporations now intervene in social and political issues and controversies, partaking in a new corporate activism. The newly “woke” corporations support activist groups and social movements, while adding their voices to political debates. Woke capitalism has endorsed Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo Movement, contemporary feminism, LGBTQ rights, and immigration activism, among other leftist causes…The Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Yousif Almoayyed. Recorded at the Mises Institute on March 22, 2019. Includes an introduction by Joseph T. Salerno.Read More
Despite its loosely aggregated elements, social justice is arguably the hegemonic paradigm for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences today. Yet, some scholars have been subjecting the “social justice university” to trenchant criticism, and Heterodox Academy, an organization of professors advocating “viewpoint diversity,” was recently established to combat the overweening influence of social justice ideology in the academy. Meanwhile, a Sokal Hoax redux recently exposed social-justice-inflected fields for political tendentiousness and absurdity, as the lampooners made a mockery of acceptable research in what they pejoratively termed “grievance studies.”
In this talk, I review critiques of social justice then point to several emergent paradigms gaining attention outside of the academy. in New English Review February 2019 February 2019.Read More
A few months ago, I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Marx’s famous statement, the title of this essay and a rejoinder to Hegel’s supposed remark—“that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice”—had been appropriated by the contemporary Slovenian Marxist and psychoanalytic theorist Slavoj Žižek, for the title of one of his books. I was disappointed because I had considered using the title myself. I was surprised because, not having read Žižek’s entire oeuvre, I hadn’t known of his appropriation. Further, quite apart from my own intended (and past casual) use, I was astonished to see how unselfconscious and lacking in intentional irony Žižek had been in naming a book about capitalism First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (2009).Read More
One of the great ironies of Western political history involves the term “social justice.” Although a core idea within liberalism and socialism for at least 175 years, the background and origin of “social justice” was a cultural and political conservatism. The irony of the “cultural appropriation” of social justice by liberalism and socialism has recently redoubled. Suggestive of a seemingly undeniably intangible good—that is, of just, fair, well-ordered, and harmonious social relations—social justice is now implicated in fierce and sometimes violent antagonisms. Social justice crystallizes in two words some of the most contentious issues roiling North American politics today. Contemporary social justice bears little resemblance to the original social justice or even more recent movements that have gone by the same name.Read More
At the moment postmodern theory lay dying in the academy, it bore a child, namely, “social justice.” Social justice gestated within the university as postmodern theory ruled the roost. It was nursed during the Occupy movement and the Obama era. The financial crisis left its hapless followers in search of empowerment. It took root on the internet on social media. But because its parent had taught it that the object world is not real, or else that the world at large was beyond one’s purview, the child of postmodern theory could only change itself, as well as, so it imagined, those who bore signs of its oppressors.Read More
At the moment postmodern theory lay dying in the academy, it bore a child, namely, “social justice.” Social justice gestated within the university as postmodern theory ruled the roost. It was nursed during the Occupy movement and the Obama era. The financial crisis left its hapless followers in search of empowerment. It took root on the internet on social media. But because its parent had taught it that the object world is not real, or else that the world at large was beyond one’s purview, the child of postmodern theory could only change itself, as well as, so it imagined, those who bore signs of its oppressors. In Academic Questions. 31.2. (10 April 2018): 130-139.Read More
The term “politically correct” is one of the most incendiary phrases of contemporary political jargon. Advocates for values deemed politically correct — anti-racism, anti-misogyny, anti-transphobia, and so on — suggest that being politically correct is simply that: correct. Why would anyone want to be anything else — unless, that is, they are motivated by bigotry, or something worse?Read More
In the early 1850s, a new philosophical, social, and political movement evolved from the Freethought tradition of Thomas Paine, Richard Carlile, Robert Owen, and the radical periodical press. The movement was called “Secularism. ”ts founder was George Jacob Holyoake (1817–1906)….With his involvement in Freethought publishing, he became a moral convert to atheism. However, his experiences with virulent proponents of atheism or infidelity and the hostile reactions to them on the part of the state, church, and press induced him to develop in 1851-1852 the new creed and movement he called Secularism….In Ryan T. Cragun, Lori Fazzino, Christel Manning, eds. Organized Secularism in the United States. Boston and Berlin: De Gruyter (November 2017): 31-56.Read More
One of the many difficulties that attends a mass attack by hordes of cyber-critics is getting around to answering them. I would never try to respond to every critic, for, as the late O.W. Crane often admonished me: "If you stop for every barking dog, your path will never end." Yet I have wanted to address at least the most egregious cases and also to answer one or two of the predominate types …. In CLG News. 30 August 2017.Read More