The reason few professors speak out against the totalitarian insanity of political correctness is the price paid by those who do — like popular New York University liberal studies professor Michael Rectenwald, who has been forced to go on leave for the rest of the semester:
Rectenwald launched an undercover Twitter account called Deplorable NYU Prof on Sept. 12 to argue against campus trends like “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings” policing Halloween costumes and other aspects of academia’s growing PC culture.
He chose to be anonymous, he explained in one of his first tweets, because he was afraid “the PC Gestapo would ruin me” if he put his name behind his conservative ideas on the famously liberal campus.
“My contention is that trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hot-line reporting is not politically correct. It is insane,” he told the student paper. “The crazier and crazier that this left gets . . . the more the alt-right is going to be laughing their asses off [and] getting more pissed,” he was quoted as saying.
Soon afterward, the boom came down.
A 12-person committee calling itself the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, including two deans, published a letter to the editor in the same paper.
“As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas,” they wrote of the untenured assistant professor.
The public scolding was only the beginning.
The same day the letter was published, Rectenwald was summoned to a meeting with his department dean and an HR representative, he says.
“They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health. They suggested my voicing these opinions was a cry for help,” Rectenwald told The Post. “Then they said I should leave and get help.”
The irony is that Rectenwald, hardly a right-winger, describes himself as a “left communist.” In the Soviet Union, dissidents like himself were characterized as insane and locked up in mental institutions.
“I’m afraid my academic career is over,” said Rectenwald. “Academic freedom: It’s great, as long as you don’t use it.”
It now seems likely that he will be fired.
Identity politics has, to borrow from Nietzsche, “made an infirmary of the whole world.” @nyuniversity
— Deplorable NYU Prof (@antipcnyuprof) September 13, 2016