“People are losing jobs. They’re losing livelihoods. They’re losing social credibility,” says Michael Rectenwald. “We’re looking at social death, in effect.”
In this episode, Michael Rectenwald, author of “Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom,” explains the negative consequences of cancel culture and what “The Great Reset” really is about.
A former Marxist and professor at New York University, Rectenwald recently co-founded American Scholars, an emerging education platform that challenges the university model with a low-cost, woke-free alternative.
Jan Jekielek: Michael Rectenwald, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Michael Rectenwald: Great to be here, Jan. Thanks for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: Michael, almost two years ago, we were sitting down on an actually quite different set. We were talking about the book that you had written, “The Google Archipelago,” and this is basically October, 2019. A lot has happened since.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: And I have to say that book aged well, as they say.
Mr. Rectenwald: Thank you.
Mr. Jekielek: So, what have you seen happen since then?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, there’s just been this acceleration. We saw, of course, the increasing cancel culture and then, this happening not only in institutions, but online, this kind of digital Gulaging became intensified. We saw the increasing censorship over just about every official narrative that exists. We’ve seen the intensification of socialist policies and we’ve seen, well, we also had an election controversy.
We’ve seen more polarization. It’s even become more polarized now. And of course with corona, we’ve seen a lot of developments that have increased polarization, but also have increased censorship– have increased this digital Gulaging of people. So, everything that I talked about in “Google Archipelago” just basically escalated.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, okay. Let’s start with digital Gulaging. What is that?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, we know what the Gulag is. So the digital Gulag is merely the digital version of that. And that is the way that dissidents are disappeared, the way that they are erased, memory-holed, and punished–in effect, taken out of the social realm, basically banished.
And it’s done through big tech; big digital tech as I call them, social media but also Google and the whole panoply of digital actors. They’ve even disappeared for a time social media networks themselves. So this has gone on and it’s really escalated and accelerated. The Digital Gulaging is basically a means by which the big tech oligarchs get rid of very unfavorable people in their eyes.
Mr. Jekielek: And I suppose unfavorable opinions and with those people, right?
Mr. Rectenwald: Unfavorable, yes; opinions that are not sanctioned in effect. I mean, these are dissident views. Dissident views have basically disappeared.
Mr. Jekielek: You know, when we spoke last, you took some effort to explain–no, I’m not saying that this is like the physical Gulag. It’s basically a strong analogy of sorts.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: One thing that I noticed, it just occurred to me was one gentleman who has been canceled, like yourself and a number of others, was basically saying that his experience of this process was one he felt like people were almost driving him toward a sort of suicidal ideation, like pushing you. It’s a lot more than just simply making sure you can’t work anymore.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right. yeah. I mean this is an attempt to actually destroy your entire social life, your social viability and your connections. This happened to a musician who basically said very innocuous things and his life was totally destroyed.
He lost his recording contract. He lost most of his friends. He was attacked, bitterly online by, you know, Twitter mobs and so on and so forth. So it can drive people to the edge. We’re looking at social death in effect and that’s a very devastating prospect for people.
Mr. Jekielek: I’m remembering a little bit about your experience at NYU. You described yourself as previously being, left of the Bolsheviks, so to speak. Something changed somewhere along the way and that prompted you to put, I think it was, retweet this, his majesty pronouns. Right, something like this.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right, right.
Mr. Jekielek: And that’s when everything kind of blew up. But somewhere along the way, you stopped being left of the Bolsheviks.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: So how did that happen exactly?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, it really happened by virtue of what the left did to me, The way they came after me, the attacks that I underwent. I was viciously attacked, not only inside the academy, but outside of it as well. Many people turned against me, like, the whole left, not just the communist left, not just the identity politics left.
Even the group that I was affiliated with, a left communist group, came after me and they basically said, they put me in a sort of a cyber show trial and said that basically I was guilty of various crimes–thought crimes, really. That’s what it came down to.
So when I saw the character behind the ideology, when I saw beneath the thin veneer of egalitarian rhetoric, I saw nothing but totalitarianism, and it scared me. I said, this is not something I want to be a part of–I can’t be a part. I didn’t know what I would be. I had no political home at this point. I just had enough. I said, I can’t be affiliated with this. And I withdrew.
Then I started to study. Then I started to read into the history of leftist political criminality, and this really deepened my understanding of what I was dealing with. And then I saw it all over the culture. It’s strange how that happens but I started seeing the signs of everything that I had encountered in the social order at large was just permeating the society.
And then I saw it happen to many other people. It just happened recently to Peter Boghossian. People like that have been put through the mill by this, and it’s not isolated. These are not isolated cases. This is a cultural trend. It’s a soft call, it’s now gotten harder, but it’s a soft call cultural revolution and it has really changed the shape of our society.
Mr. Jekielek: Yeah. So soft cultural revolution.
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, what happened in the cultural revolution? You had the abolition of the Four Olds. You had the attack on customs, on history, and on basically tradition. Anything venerated previously is ripped down. And we’ve seen all the signs of that with the protests, so-called, the destruction of basically historical memory, the attempt to eradicate vestiges of the past, to deem everything regressive or reactionary or racist or whatever.
We’ve seen the same kind of call out culture and cancel culture. Really, they are equivalents of struggle sessions that were undertaken during the cultural revolution. And then you also have the equivalent of auto critique or self-criticism that was underway where you had to do this to yourself–self-denigration. You see people doing this all the time when they make a mistake, when they say something that’s not acceptable–that’s not sanctioned.
So we see self-criticism or auto critique. We see struggle sessions. We see the destruction of monuments including religious monuments and historical ones, and the Red Terror that’s imposed on people through these mobs. They are sometimes Twitter mobs, but they simply resemble the Red Guards in so many ways. It’s quite uncanny.
Mr. Jekielek: It just all happens in cyberspace instead of actually physically, but I guess that’s not entirely true, yeah.
Mr. Rectenwald: It has real material consequences because people are losing jobs. They’re losing livelihoods. They’re losing social credibility. They’re losing, they’re losing all kinds of support structures–everything they relied on. As I said, it’s a kind of social death and it may start in the cyber sphere, but it certainly goes beyond it.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, right, exactly, and as I was saying this, I was of course thinking about what’s happening in Portland, where Peter Boghossian is from, and frankly, many other places.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: When we spoke last, you said that basically truth-based narratives or truth-telling was kind of the antidote to all this, which, of course, you know, I kind of loved that. We’re kind of in the middle of trying to do that here–I think, as we speak.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yeah, exactly.
Mr. Jekielek: But you have a new initiative that actually, as we’re recording, went live today. You’re basically starting a university?
Mr. Rectenwald: An online education platform and system to counter, not just to counter, but to posit an alternative, a parallel institutional structure to the one that is, to the dominant one, to the legacy educational structures that we’re dealing with today which I think have been utterly infested with pernicious ideologies and are being run by zealots.
So what we want to do is to create an educational platform that has balance, that has truth-telling, that is not driven by ideology or propaganda, that is not trying to indoctrinate but rather educate. That is taking a look at our history and looking at it from a real historical perspective. That is where did the United States come from? Why is it a unique project? Things like that.
And really when you look at this and remove these sort of lenses that say, this country was founded on ethnocide. Capitalism is, you know, oppressive and imperialist from the start and the country was based on racism. When you really look at the project from where it came, from Europe and what its distinction was from that, it’s quite an extraordinary experiment.
So we’re trying to bring things like that to bear and then to look at the economy; things like what is the difference between a free market economy and a top-down command economy. Why is it that socialism always ends in totalitarianism? Why is it that communism or command economies end in tyranny? And this is all explicable.
It just takes some thinking and we’re trying to do that and we’re presenting numerous topics and we have a cadre of professors and I’m adding new ones as we speak almost, and we’re lining up a lot of courses and we have a platform. It’s a free speech platform where people can organize and express their concerns and basically support each other. It’s a parallel structure where we support each other and we don’t live in the lie.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, it’s really interesting. I was reading the article we published today about American Scholars, your initiative, by Petr Svab, one of our New York reporters. He cited Aharon Zorea as one of the professors. He was and perhaps is associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin colleges.
He was talking about how he wants to approach history and I thought it was really interesting. He said, well, no, of course we can talk about the 1619 Project version of history but that’s not the only version of history we’re gonna talk about. That’s not the only lens we’re gonna look through–this is my paraphrase.
The point is multiple points of view will be considered and explored, and you know what, actually make sense based on critical inquiry will be assessed, right, that’s your.
Mr. Rectenwald: A multiperspectival approach, which is always the way I taught in the university even when I was a Marxist. I always taught topics from multiple perspectives, basically show the students kind of a panorama of viewpoints, kind of a panopticon, if you will, of viewpoints.
And let them see the different ideas and let them choose which ones are persuasive to them rather than excluding 95 or 99 percent of all perspectives and then drilling down into one and basically making it a prerequisite to passing a course or even being allowed to stay in a course.
Because if you express the wrong opinion, you could be ousted from the classroom at this point. So yes, that’s the kind of approach that we’re encouraging.
Mr. Jekielek: The other motivation from what I understand is just simply the cost, right?
Mr. Rectenwald: Oh yeah, I mean, look at the cost of higher education. It’s utterly impossible for many people. It doesn’t have the kind of prospects economically that is promised by it. And then, obviously people are put in huge debt. So it’s just not a practical possibility for people to get educated like that.
We’re offering this basically for almost nothing and you get university lectures from top professors around the country, all over the country, and some even from outside the country and without paying a tuition, without dealing with cancel culture in the classroom, without dealing with the whole ideological indoctrination system that’s underway and so on and so forth.
So we’re not accredited, but we are erecting ourselves as a kind of parallel institution that may offer certificates in the future and they’ll have validity. We know that in education today, one of the main things that’s offered is effectively legitimation. It’s a legitimating institution today. They give you legitimacy and allow you to pass that legitimacy on into the marketplace. Well, we think we can eventually parallel, we can eventually compete with that.
Mr. Jekielek: How would you compete with that?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, as we know, the value of what is being transmitted today is really questionable. More and more people will see that the degree is not as meaningful as it’s been touted in the past. So once they see that, and then if we’re offering certificates for students completing courses in our program, then they’ll have an alternate legitimating institution that may be even more legitimate based on the fact that we’re not doing what the others are doing..
Mr. Jekielek: So maybe just even briefly tell me a little bit about the initial courses that you’ve launched with your.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yeah, we’re launching with a small cadre of courses. We’re launching with a course on free market economics versus a command economy. We’re launching with a course in American history, which goes all the way back to 1500 and moves forward from there.
We’re offering a course on the internet and free speech and a course on the history of technology and of course on critical race theory taught by yours truly.
Mr. Jekielek: Where can our viewers find these courses?
Mr. Rectenwald: Americanscholars.com.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, excellent. One of the things, I have to talk about this because when we were speaking earlier, we kind of got into this topic. When there is a lot of information being promoted by establishment institutions that is objectively false or at least objectively questionable, that creates a kind of a very ripe environment for conspiracy theories because people who can see that, it’s not that hard to see.
You can try to come up with any sorts of explanations in the absence of, whatever it is–the real answer being available readily.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right, I mean, so even if these, we’ve seen a number of series of lies being perpetrated about various things, about COVID in terms of the response to it, in terms of any number of things today. So what happens is people notice the lies.
So I argue that the mendacity of the establishment media and institutions effectively generate conspiracy theories by virtue of the fact that they’re not offering; they’re offering a narrative.
So when you find out that the various touchstones of that narrative are false, then you dispense with the narrative and start to construct other ones in its place. And that’s basically how conspiracy theories derive. So if they want to talk about, if the establishment media and the institutions want to point the finger at people for conspiracy theories, those fingers should point back at them because they’re really responsible for it.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, and here’s the thing. I think in a lot of cases, there’s a lot of interpretations as to why, okay? There’s a really interesting article I was reading in “Slate” the other day about, sort of the costs of the Noble Lie in this case, right?
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes, I read that too.
Mr. Jekielek: Because it’s not always necessarily a nefarious reason.
Mr. Rectenwald: That’s right.
Mr. Jekielek: You know, there’s attempts to shaping behavior, for example, right? You want people to wear masks so you might tell them something you think will get them to wear the mask, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that thing is true.
Mr. Rectenwald: That’s right.
Mr. Jekielek: So what are your thoughts about the Noble Lie?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, the Noble Lie has been ascribed to Fauci, Anthony Fauci, basically saying that, he told lies and they’re noble lies because they’re meant, they’re benign in the sense that they are not supposedly harming anyone and they’re told for reasons, good reasons.
But let’s set that aside. Whether the reasons are good or not, the problem is the Noble Lie leads to suspicion. It leads to deep skepticism. It erodes all the confidence that people have in the institutions and therefore it really tears the fabric of the social order up to pieces.
It shreds it, and so the Noble Lie is not a valid approach in convincing anybody of anything. If anything, it turns them against exactly the program that you have in mind. And I think that’s what’s really gone on.
Mr. Jekielek: And one of these, something that’s often described as a conspiracy theory, and I was, we were jokingly talking about this, is the Great Reset
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: Of course, right?
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: You see all sorts of references to this, what is it, and of course, sort of attacks on it as being a complete conspiracy theory–some sort of new world order global domination thing, right? Yet there is a book written in late 2020 by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret, “COVID-19: The Great Reset,” that you pointed me towards.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay, so what is this Great Reset actually?
Mr. Rectenwald: To believe in the Great Reset is not a conspiracy theory because this is an avowed plan. There’s no amount of conspiracy theory necessary in order to believe that this project is something that some people believe in and are attempting to purvey to the broader public that are trying to get their initiatives taken up in the social body.
The Great Reset is really a propaganda campaign that was initiated by the World Economic Forum–Klaus Schwab and the United Nations. It’s an effort to reset the economy and really reset the whole social structure. One of the main premises of it is that global warming is an imminent danger and an imminent threat to civilization.
I think they firmly believe in it and they want to reset the economy in terms of carbon use and also consumption in general. So there’s a lot of consumption changes. They’re looking for reduction in consumption in the First World– first of all.
And then a kind of leveling of consumption across the globe because they talk about a fairer greener future. So fairer is, to be fair, what they mean by that, is equitable and by equitable, what they mean is basically everybody consuming the same amount. This is not based on any kind of merit. This is just that consumption should be level across the world and that’s really what they’re aiming at.
And they’re using various techniques and means by which to bring this about. One of them is by cajoling corporations into accepting their ideas and then enacting them through various means. One of them is the environmental, social, and governance score, which is a way to get corporations to abide by the environmental precepts that they have in mind, the social, which is really social justice precepts, and the governance precepts, which really have to do with how well do they cooperate with the state.
So this ESG [Environmental, Social, Governess Criteria] score is huge. It is being used by, for example, BlackRock, Inc. Larry Fink. BlackRock Inc. sent a letter to CEOs in the beginning of the year in which basically, it really is an implicit threat. If you do not abide by, or if your index is low, you will not see investments in your companies.
BlackRock, Inc. is the largest asset manager in the world. So when somebody says, somebody like Larry Fink says, if you don’t abide by this ESG score, if you don’t get your ESG score up high you won’t see investments. That’s very serious talk. That means that you’ll be starved out of capital.
So this is a way to direct capital to what I consider to be, like approved producers and distributors, and to starve off others. And I see it as ending, and the Great Reset as ending in a two-tiered structure in effect of basically corporate monopolous on top and a kind of actually existing socialism on the ground. That perplexed you.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, what does actually existing socialism on the ground mean exactly?
Mr. Rectenwald: Okay, well, you know what, you’ve heard the phrase actually existing socialism. This was the phrase used by dissidents in the Soviet Union and elsewhere to describe what life’s really like under socialism rather than in the treatises of Marx and others, okay? So this is very, it’s a very ironic kind of sarcastic term that’s meant to criticize socialism without saying anything–actually existing socialism.
So why I use that phrase in connection with this is that socialism never ends in the, it never is established in the way that it’s claimed to be. It’s never the working class taking over the means of production and the complete control or democratic economic democracy.
This is never how it ends up. It has to be controlled. Since you take away prices and you take away a free market, you have to have somebody deciding what’s made and what’s sold and who can buy it and so on and so forth. So it’s a command economy.
I use actually existing socialism because this is a socialism that’s not according to the textbook. It’s not according to the founders of Marxian socialism. It’s not according to their plan, but it’s the way it turns out a lot of the time. That is you have a ruling elite that controls the resources in effect and you have everyone else on the ground and effectively equal, but equally miserable, equally repressed, and so on and so forth.
So that’s why I use the term actually existing socialism to refer to that and what I mean by that is there’s a two-tiered system. You have kind of a corporate monopoly class on top with the state, and then you have sort of the broad population living in a kind of statis, economic statis, without much prospects, because after all, according to the World Economic Forum, by 2030, you’ll own nothing and be happy–that’s in their words.
Mr. Jekielek: Right, so I think it was argued that this was just one possible future. What you’re describing right now. But that’s interesting because in this book with sort of the whole vision for the actual “Great Reset,” the title of the book is outlined. I don’t think the outcome that you’re describing is outlined.
Mr. Rectenwald: They don’t tell you what it would come out to, but I think that’s implicit in what they’re saying
Mr. Jekielek: But the main thing is it’s not sort of someone up there-
Mr. Rectenwald: No.
Mr. Jekielek: Exactly, you know…
Mr. Rectenwald: This is not a puppeteer pulling strings; effectively some evil oligarchy. We’re not seeing that kind of manipulation. What we’re seeing is a kind of ideology and propaganda.
So what ties it all together is ideology and then the way it’s transmitted is through propaganda. It’s not like a fait accompli. That’s for sure. This is not necessarily going to happen. And if I have my way, it won’t. And I know many others who agree. But this is the kind of campaign that they’re undertaking and it’s an effort on their part. It’s an effort to bring this about.
Mr. Jekielek: So this is the really interesting part, because again, going back to this book, it’s actually the premise is that coronavirus or the CCP virus, as we call it here at “The Epoch Times,” pandemic is the opportunity to really push this kind of agenda forward faster.
Mr. Rectenwald: Mm-hm, yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: Right? That’s the premise and I can’t help but think about some of what’s happening in Australia, right, where there’s a lot of, I think arguably authoritarian-type initiatives being implemented in the name of saving society.
Mr. Rectenwald: Right.
Mr. Jekielek: Right?
Mr. Rectenwald: Indeed. In fact, we see the kind of erosion of the independent producers, of the sort of independent entrepreneurial middle-class being destroyed. Where you have basically, by the way, in Australia from what I’ve read, a good 50 to 60 percent of the population is actually behind [it]. They agree with this with the lockdowns and the whole sort of draconian approach that’s being taken there.
But a lot of those people happen to be employed by the state or they have institutional positions that really aren’t touched by this. They can, basically, have they’re part of the laptop class that can work from home. They’re not bothered by this at all. So they seem to be in support of it.
Yet there’s the whole, so I would say that sort of the middle, the middling business class that’s being crushed. We saw the same thing in the United States with the lockdowns here.
So this kind of supports my theory about where this heads, because it heads to this kind of bifurcation of society into this kind of corporate state monopoly over everything and then the basic eradication of the middle-class producer and a two-tiered system and the aggregation of rights.
There was a man hunt for someone who sneezed in an elevator in Australia. They shot dogs because people might’ve rescued them. So, this is just, it’s just crazy. So yeah, the rights have been destroyed and they seem to think, I guess the majority seems to think this is temporary, but I worry about that.
Mr. Jekielek: As we talk about all this, I look back to our conversation we had two years ago and you had introduced me to a new term, governmentality.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: And that’s not something I’d ever come across, and frankly, I’m seeing it all over the place right now.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes, I think so. Well, I adopted that term governmentality from the postmodern theorist Michel Foucault and I sort of, adapted it a bit. What he meant by it was the way the governed effectively adopt the behavior demanded of them by the rulers–by the governing class.
I took the term and then I sort of amended it a bit to just talk about the way that corporations and companies and institutions basically do the work of the government, in effect, they become extensions of the state or state apparatuses.
And we see that, and definitely, this is in the news right now; this idea of corporations and companies doing and becoming extensions of the state or state apparatuses as they’re now being demanded to do by virtue of becoming vaccine mandate sentinels in effect. They have to be. They have to demand vaccination from their employees or otherwise they will be fined.
So they become extensions of the state, perhaps not to their liking and not, you know, not on their own terms, but this is at the behest of the state and it’s happening. We see governmentalities all over the place. And this is really interesting–the way the vaccine mandate is being enacted is through these governmentalities rather than strictly by the state itself.
Mr. Jekielek: I actually hadn’t remembered the true definition of governmentality according to Foucault. But this seems to be exactly what you were writing about in this recent essay that I actually flagged that I wanted to read from, the “Living in the Age of COVID: The Power of the Powerless.” You pull this famous, I would argue, the greengrocer example of Vaclav Havel. Of course, this is Vaclav Havel’s essay that you’re looking at and applying it to today. Well tell me about how this works, actually.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yeah, so the greengrocer example that he gives in that essay, “The Power of the Powerless,” is perfectly exemplary of governmentality in the sense that Foucault meant.
That is to say that there’s this example he gives of how the administration, how the state is not simply a dictator where power flows downhill and then everybody is obedient, but the subjects themselves participate in it.
He gives this example, the greengrocer, who routinely puts in his window slogans that are basically, oh, corrupt, and, you know, favorable to the state, for example, workers of the world unite.
Now, the greengrocer as Havel puts it, doesn’t necessarily believe in the semantic content of this statement. What the statement really is, is a semiotic signifier. It’s a sign of the greengrocer’s compliance with the system.
It isn’t so much that he believes that, you know, workers of the world should unite and this will be the worker’s paradise because he’s living it and it isn’t. So really what he’s saying is that I basically abide and I’m showing to everyone my complicity, my compliance and my complicity with the state. And that’s exactly the kind of thing Foucault meant by governmentality.
And it goes on to say how not only does it show the greengrocer’s complicity, but it really enlists everyone who looks at the sign as also compliant and complicit. And then all the network of such signs all around the town create this environment that you basically must kind of abide by the signs.
You must accept the signs and see them for what they are. You accept that those signs are, they’re ubiquitous and that if you disagree with putting a sign like this in your window, you’ll be very conspicuous by virtue of the sign’s absence.
You’ll basically be signaling to the state that you’re very suspicious, and this could bring down repression on you. And that’s the real reason you put the sign in. But the more people who do it, the more necessary it is for you to do it as well.
That’s really what he’s getting at there. And so I took that and I applied it to the COVID era and in the case of masks and the vaccine passport basically, that it’s a sign of the same sign of complicity and compliance and complicity. People are doing it not necessarily because they believe in it or they believe in its efficacy, but they are afraid not to do it for the same reasons that that greengrocer was afraid not to put that sign in the storefront window.
Mr. Jekielek: Yeah, no, absolutely fascinating. It’s actually the top essay, I think, on your website right now–michaelrectenwald.com. As we finish up here, you know, I can’t help but also remember that you are, with all of these let’s say difficult predictions and observations that you’re making, you’re also a big believer in the human spirit.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes. Yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: Right, and I suppose that’s part of the reason why you’re involved in starting this new educational initiative, American Scholars. So what is the sort of the bright version of the future here in your mind?
Mr. Rectenwald: Well, I am a big believer in the human spirit and resilience and I’m also a believer in history. History has proven that totalitarian regimes do not last. They can’t. They’re built on lies and contradictions. And they must crumble because they are not built on the truth and therefore they are, they’re self-emulating, they’re self-destructive.
The question is about just how much people will have to endure in the process, how long they’ll have to endure it, how much suffering will be underway, and we can alleviate that.
We can alleviate that by building parallel structures like American Scholars but other kinds of parallel structures, support structures, social structures, even economic structures that are parallel to, not necessarily competing with, but competing with the dominant legacy structures in the sense that people will flock to them because they need them and they’ll support each other through them and this will get us through.
Mr. Jekielek: What will really distinguish these parallel structures? Is it just the ideology behind them, the outlook?
Mr. Rectenwald: What’ll distinguish them is that you won’t have to subscribe to lies to be part of them. Basically it’s living in the truth.
Mr. Jekielek: And the professors that have signed on to American Scholars from what we’ve learned, they understand that they may be so-called canceled.
Mr. Rectenwald: Yes, they’re courageous people and they believe in the mission. They believe in this because they know they don’t really have an option to live in a lie. These are people that want to live in the truth and they refuse to be bullied out of doing what they feel called to do in their lives. I think that’s really what it comes down to.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, Michael Rectenwald, it’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. Rectenwald: My pleasure, Jan. Thanks so much.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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