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Ep. 145 Michael Rectenwald on Recovering from Marxism and His New Book *Beyond Woke*

Dr. Michael Rectenwald was a professor of liberal studies at NYU from 2008 to 2019. Although at one point he was a committed Marxist, he gradually lost faith, and is now an outspoken critic of campus activists. Bob asks Rectenwald about apparent contradictions in the current cultural Marxist / postmodern movement, and they discuss several themes from his new book, *Beyond Woke*.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute, and co-host with Tom Woods of the podcast "Contra Krugman."


  1. Tel on 09/15/2020 at 2:44 PM

    Michel Foucault wasn’t terribly new and inventive, nor is the “Post Modern” particularly modern. Lewis Carroll explained it a century earlier.

    Humpty Dumpty: When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.
    Alice: The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.
    Humpty Dumpty: The question is, which is to be master – that’s all.

    But if that doesn’t convince you, perhaps King Monkey:

    That first egg was named “Thought”. Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, said, “With our thoughts, we make the world.”

    Buddha talked about illusion vs reality quite often, bringing us back to around 500 BC … which was about the same time Heraclitus of Ephesus talked about Logos. Translated from ancient Greek … the Logos could be language (communication) or logic (itself a language) or it could be reason, possibly persuasion … some combination of all the above. Later the Stoics took this a step further with “logos spermatikos” which is like the fundamental guiding principle that generates the rest of the universe. This concept was brought to Christianity by Saint Justin Martyr (approx 150 AD) who described the “Divine Word” and eventually the Trinitarian Christians came to regard Jesus himself as literally being that Divine Word … while Arian/Unitarian Christians put a slightly different spin on it that Jesus was simply a human, inspired to teach the Divine Word.

    This brings us roughly to the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) where all parties accepted the Logos … quibbled over the specifics of manifestation … never been settled but probably don’t matter.

    Fast forward to Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, John Von Neumann and the age of computing machinery. Woot. With the Logos itself now in the capable mortal hands of human engineers it was finally time to settle the matter … but we haven’t settled anything. Gödel’s Theorem came along; then the idea of a simulation inside a simulation; everything got virtualized … it ended up rather messy (and getting messier each day). Jordan Peterson told us to clean up, but we tried to … easy thing to ask, you come and clean it up if you’re so smarty pants. Playing God is tougher than it looks, don’t you know. Should have paid attention to Humpty Dumpty.

    That reminds me … when someone else can force you to change the meaning of your own words to suit their liking, that does NOT contradict postmodern theory (which is a theory of power and dominance) … indeed it confirms this theory … and it makes it quite clear that the question is who is to be master. Just saying.

    • Adam Haman on 11/22/2020 at 4:31 PM


      (by which I mean: “excellent comment!”)

    • clort82 on 04/12/2021 at 9:32 AM

      PMT stipulates that the inherited, shared definitions are of no value and that destroying or subverting them is imperative. This power is only the power to destroy, to ‘Exteriminate all Rational Thought’, to quote Burroughs.

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