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Michael Rectenwald



Articles by Michael Rectenwald

The Great Reset VII: Capitalism for the Rich and Socialism for the Poor

22 days ago

Michael Rectenwald takes on the progressive canard of “socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor,” in which the government protects the wealthy but throws everyone else to the tender mercies of rapacious capitalism. Original Article: “The Great Reset VII: Capitalism for the Rich and Socialism for the Poor” This Audio Mises Wire is generously …

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Elon Musk’s Twitter Gambit and What It Means to the “Clique in Power”

23 days ago

Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter and turn it into a private company has apparently been successful. Now the real action begins. Musk’s buyout exposes the Big Digital media complex to unwanted and unwonted competition, while threatening to loosen its near-total control of information and opinion. Twitter has represented a vital component in an …

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Do Conspiracies Really Exist? Murray Rothbard Thought So

23 days ago

The quickest way to discredit an intellectual opponent is to accuse that person of being a “conspiracy theorist.” But what happens when real conspiracies occur? Original Article: “Do Conspiracies Really Exist? Murray Rothbard Thought So” This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. 

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Do Conspiracies Really Exist? Murray Rothbard Thought So

29 days ago

 It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any “conspiracy theory of history;” for a search for “conspiracies” means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by …

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The Great Reset VII: Capitalism for the Rich and Socialism for the Poor

29 days ago

The standard leftist refrain about “advanced capitalism” is that it amounts to “socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.” Like most leftist notions, this idea represents almost the exact opposite of the truth. The system they refer to is anything but socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Capitalists do not …

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The Science of Evil: A Personal Review of Political Ponerology

March 26, 2022

A new edition of Political Ponerology, by Andrew M. Łobaczewski, edited by Harrison Koehli, is now available on Amazon.1 This strange and provocative book argues that totalitarianism is the result of the extension of psychopathology from a group of psychopaths to the entire body politic, including its political and economic systems. Political Ponerology is essential …

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Woke Capitalism Is a Monopoly Game

February 10, 2022

In 2018, Ross Douthat of the New York Times introduced the phrase “woke capital.” Essentially, Douthat suggested that woke capitalism works by substitut­ing symbolic value for economic value. Under woke capitalism, corporations offer workers rhetorical pla­cebos in lieu of costlier economic concessions, such as higher wages and better benefits. The same gestures of woke­ness also …

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The Great Reset, Part VI: Plans of a Technocratic Elite

November 2, 2021

In previous installments, I introduced the Great Reset idea1 and treated it in terms of its economic2 and ideological3 components. In this, the sixth installment, I will discuss what the Great Reset entails in terms of governance and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4-IR), closing with remarks about the overall Great Reset project and its implications. According to Klaus …

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Social Justice and the Emergence of Covid Tyranny

September 16, 2021

Signs of incipient totalitarian impulses have been evident since the rise of political correctness.1 Yet, warnings from those who saw the character of contemporary “social justice” went largely unheeded. Nevertheless, even before degenerating into “wokeness,” social justice bore the seeds of civilizational decline and the simultaneous rise of social and political tyranny. The weaponization of mostly feigned …

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Lockdowns and Vaccine Mandates: China’s Most Successful Exports?

September 10, 2021

It is neither Red Scare hyperbole nor misplaced attribution to say that the covid regime established in the Western world is primarily a product of the Chinese regime. I refer not strictly to the claim that covid-19 originated in a Wuhan lab but also to the fact that the propaganda campaign that “informs” the covid …

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Living in the Age of Covid: “The Power of the Powerless”

August 18, 2021

A specter is haunting the world: the increasing prospect of a new totalitarianism under the extended covid response. Unlike the specter of communism, or the specter of “dissent” to communist dictatorship that Václav Havel ironically identified in his groundbreaking essay “The Power of the Powerless,”1 this specter originates from those in power and not from the …

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How a Marxist of Twenty-Five Years Became a Misesian Libertarian

July 6, 2021

In the fall of 2016, I was a left communist. As I will show below, I came to this position after a circuitous tour through numerous sects of Marxism. A year later, I had thoroughly renounced Marxism and embraced the views of free market economists and philosophers Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. How did …

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The Tyranny of the Minority Is Just as Dangerous as the Tyranny of the Majority

June 30, 2021

In a previous installment, I pointed out that in On Liberty, John Stuart Mill advocated for minority opinion to be specially “encouraged and countenanced,”1 and thus that Mill was not an absolute free market thinker where opinion is concerned. Mill suggested that minority opinion should not only be tolerated but requires special encouragement in order to …

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John Stuart Mill, “the Marketplace of Ideas,” and Minority Opinion

June 22, 2021

When justifying the airing of opinion, particularly of unpopular opinion, interlocutors have often pointed to John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty for support. Mill’s classical liberal tome is regarded as one of the greatest defenses of individuality, free thought, and free speech ever written. Raised by the free market economist and utilitarian James Mill, and holding …

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An Autoethnographic Account of the Free Market: My Father

May 8, 2021

Instead of approaching the free market abstractly, in this short series, I’ll approach it from the standpoint of my own experience. In short, I’ll treat the free market in an autoethnographic account. Autoethnography is just what the word suggests: it is a genre of ethnographic writing and research that connects the personal to the cultural, …

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The State-Corporate Convergence in Our State of Emergency

April 22, 2021

Perhaps the most pressing matter today for advocates of freedom is the prospect of the Left completing the institution of a totalitarian state. There is no other way to read the multiprong approach and the political maneuverings that political operatives are taking to rule under “Biden.” I put “Biden” in quotation marks here because the current president …

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Why Postmodernism Is Incompatible with a Politics of Liberty

April 5, 2021

Several months ago, I debated Thaddeus Russell on The Tom Woods Show. The proposition debated was “Postmodern philosophy is compatible with a politics of individual liberty.” Thaddeus defended the proposition and I opposed it. Here, I want to flesh out some of the points I made in the debate, adding more context than I could …

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The Great Reset, Part V: Woke Ideology

February 27, 2021

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the Great Reset and introduced several ways of understanding the economics of it. The Great Reset can be thought of as neofeudalism, as “corporate socialism,” as “capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” and in terms of “stakeholder capitalism” versus “neoliberalism.” In future installments, I intend to treat the technological (transhumanist) and monetary …

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The Great Reset, Part IV: “Stakeholder Capitalism” vs. “Neoliberalism”

February 1, 2021

Any discussion of “stakeholder capitalism” must begin by noting a paradox: like “neoliberalism,” its nemesis, “stakeholder capitalism” does not exist as such. There is no such economic system as “stakeholder capitalism,” just as there is no such economic system as “neoliberalism.” The two antipathetic twins are imaginary ghosts forever pitted against each other in a …

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The Great Reset, Part II: Corporate Socialism

January 1, 2021

The aims of the WEF are not to plan every aspect of production and thus to direct all individual activity. Rather, the goal is to limit the possibilities for individual activity—by dint of squeezing out industries and producers within industries from the economy. Original Article: “The Great Reset, Part II: Corporate Socialism” This Audio Mises …

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The Great Reset, Part III: Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics

January 1, 2021

The title of this essay represents a play on the Chinese Communist Party’s description of its economy. Several decades ago, when China’s growing reliance on the for-profit sectors of its economy could no longer be credibly denied by the CCP, its leadership approved the slogan “socialism with Chinese characteristics” to describe the Chinese economic system.1 Formulated …

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Un-woke

November 30, 2020

[Michael Rectenwald was a professor of liberal studies and global liberal studies at NYU from 2008 to 2019. He holds a PhD in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University, a master’s in English literature from Case Western Reserve University, and a BA in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Rectenwald is …

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The Google Election

November 13, 2020

[This is the transcript of the eponymous talk presented at the Mises Institute’s Ron Paul Symposium on November 7, 2020, in Angleton, Texas.] “Don’t be evil” may no longer be Google’s official company motto, but it remains the last sentence of its Code of Conduct. As part of not being evil, Google maintains that “everything …

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The Google Election

November 7, 2020

Whether Trump or not-Trump is finally declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential election, we’re in for the battle of our lives. A constellation of state and state-extended apparatuses has openly declared war on liberty—on us. We’re all thought criminals now. Presented at the Symposium with Ron Paul on Saturday, 7 November 2020, in …

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Google Marxism: Internet Ideology and the Academics Who Perpetuate It

October 3, 2019

Rectenwald argues that, just as the Gulag was the means to physically disappear dissidents and other thought criminals from normal life in the Soviet Union, powerful corporations currently preside over big data and serve as the chief arbiters of expression with power to delete “dangerous” persons from its various platforms. Presented at the Libertarian Scholars …

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Libertarianism(s) versus Postmodernism and ‘Social Justice’ Ideology

October 1, 2019

Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 22, no. 2 (Summer 2019) full issue. ABSTRACT: This Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Yousif Almoayyed, was given at the Austrian Economics Research Conference at the Mises Institute on March 22, 2019. Coined by Ross Douthat of the New York Times, woke capitalism refers to a burgeoning wave …

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