Editors’ note: Michael Rectenwald is a former leftist who has become one of our country’s most effective critics of the Left. After being forced out of his professorship at NYU, Dr. Rectenwald has written four books explaining the mindset, tactics and goals of the new generation of intolerant leftists — including, Springtime for Snowflakes, Google Archipelago and Beyond Woke. Thought Criminal is a his new work of fiction that parallels our present state of affairs and points to a terrifying future lying just around the corner. Kenneth Timmerman has called it “the ‘1984 ‘of the Covid era.” It is Frontpage’s honor to run an excerpt of Dr. Rectenwald’s new book below:
“Good morning, Mr. Varin. My name is Dr. Victor Fausten. I am an AI-Neuro-Virology physician recently assigned to Essential Data to deal with difficult cases of the virus. Joining us is our NAV associate, Dr. Molich, and our NAV assistant, Taylor. We will be asking you a battery of questions to see how the process has gone so far.”
Varin disliked Fausten immediately. For one, he’d called himself doctor, but referred to Varin as mister. He wore a mindlessly permanent smile that verged on a smirk. He condescended when he spoke, putting an undue emphasis on each and every syllable. He was small-statured and fragile-looking, like a twig with a head. He appeared to be in his mid-to-late seventies, but he retained a baby face, as if he’d been pampered and protected from care his entire life. Molich, on the other hand, was a hale, thicker, and tall young man. He had freckles and bushy red hair. He was heavy-set and rugged, but reticent. He licked his lips incessantly, as if anticipating a meal. Both doctors wore white lab coats, and both had a light blue pod that looked like a bar of off-brand soap, only made of plastic, tucked away inside a side pocket of their coats. The pods were visible due to their weight that held the pockets open. The RA, Taylor, was very humanoid-looking. They had flesh-like skin that stretched over the smooth curves of their head, arms, hands, and neck. Varin assumed that the legs and chest were covered in skin as well, but they wore a white one-piece jump suit that covered their legs and torso. Their face was designed to manifest a pleasant demeanor. They even displayed a headful of thick dark brown hair that looked as real as either Fausten’s or Molich’s.
Fausten began the questioning.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Varin?”
“We are sorry to hear that, Mr. Varin. If it is any comfort to you, I will say that it is not atypical to feel rather disoriented after the first two steps of the process. You have undergone quite a procedure already. We administered a transfusion, then a serial and very powerful vaccine. The vaccine has a major impact. But we assure you that you should be feeling better in a matter of time, and if the treatment has worked, you will be free from the mental disturbances that brought you here.” He paused. “What is your profession, sir?”
“Well, I was a Professor of Neuro-AI at Trans U., but I was fired. Now I write on my own.”
“Why were you fired?”
“I had incorrect thinking. Or didn’t I?”
“We cannot answer that definitively just yet. But it appears that the virus had corrupted your thinking. If you are like others who have had the virus, you certainly will have experienced various kinds of delusions, including paranoid delusions about the virus itself. As you probably know, the virus works on the neurotransmitters in the neocortex and has a way of altering the epigenetic programming—changing the culture genes, as it were—to malfunctioning culture genes, especially malfunctioning thoughts about the virus itself. Your neurological inputs have been blocked from the influx of the proper impulses from Collective Mind, leaving you to have all sorts of ideas, ideas that are erroneous, let alone unapproved. Have you had unusual thoughts about the virus, Mr. Varin?”
“I guess so.”
“What thoughts have you entertained about the virus?”
“To tell you the truth, I can’t even remember what they were. Fabulous ideas though, paranoid ideas, I guess. Whatever they were, I suppose they were incorrect. I do know they got me fired and labeled a Thought Deviationist, a Vaccine Resistor, and finally, a Banned Researcher.”
“You mentioned that you write now. What have you been writing?” Fausten said this with a slight smile, as if he merely feigned an interest in Varin’s writing.
“Don’t you have my papers?” Varin asked. “Someone took them from me somewhere.” He looked around, as if searching for the papers. “Anyway,” he continued, “all I can remember is the title. Everything else is very foggy. After the title the rest of the pages are all blank—in my mind, that is. I’m sure the pages have something written on them, but I don’t know what it is. The title was Propagation Theory, I believe, or something like that. I remember I was almost finished working on it, but I don’t remember the content. Speaking of things that are missing, where is my PRA?”
“The RPA confiscated your papers, Mr. Varin,” Fausten replied. At this, Fausten seemed to suggest that Varin had indeed been a criminal. “As for your Personal RA, we had to keep them out of the Process Room for security purposes. Now, back to your papers,” he continued. “If your book was among the papers, then we have confiscated it. I have not seen it myself. Depending on how things go here, that may or may not be necessary.” Fausten paused for a few seconds, suddenly appearing disturbed, perhaps by the possibility that he might actually have to read Propagation Theory.
“So, could you tell us what you think about the virus now?”
“Well, it’s a nightmare, really, the virus is. But yes, I think the virus causes a terrible disease. It seems to affect the unvaccinated, causing them to have incorrect ideas about the virus itself, among other things. I’ve read and heard that it can also lead to death, but I haven’t read or heard of anyone dying of it. A blood transfusion is the only remedy. And getting the vaccine is the only way to protect against future re-infections … Is that right?”
“That is correct,” Fausten answered, apparently pleased. But as if correcting himself, his demeanor immediately returned to a cautionary smirk, and he continued. “But we need to scan your neocortex to make sure that you have been thoroughly cleared of incorrect thoughts … of the virus, I mean. We will apply these high-frequency, high-resolution encephalogram pods to your frontal lobe to search for traces of any remaining errant culture genes. That is, we are looking to see if you are still having delusions, if you are still infected.” Fausten indicated that he referred to the blue pods that he and Molich now had in hand.
Just then Kharon re-entered the chamber. They wheeled a monitor, which they placed behind Varin’s chair. Kharon remained in the chamber this time, Varin assumed to make sure that his incorrect thoughts had been properly purged. Fausten positioned himself on Varin’s right side, and Molich on his left. They pressed their pods to Varin’s temples and turned to the monitor for the reading. Varin felt the pods vibrate lightly. After thirty seconds, Fausten signaled to Molich, who removed his pod from Varin’s left temple. Fausten then examined the right side of his frontal lobe by itself. The pod vibrated. After thirty seconds, he withdrew his pod and signaled to Molich again. Molich repositioned the pod on Varin’s left temple. Both doctors studied the read-out as the pod vibrated.
Fausten walked around in front of Varin—his right hand rubbing his chin—and stood thinking. He addressed Kharon rather than Varin.
“Kharon, please release the straps and let Mr. Varin relax.”
Varin tried not to show signs of relief. Was he being cleared and released, he wondered? Kharon unlocked the buckles and removed the straps. Varin stretched his arms and legs without giving any indication that he wanted to stand up and run.
Michael Rectenwald is a recently retired Professor of Liberal Studies at New York University, where he taught cultural and social history as well as academic writing since 2008. The author of ten books, Dr. Rectenwald is a prominent spokesperson for academic freedom and free speech and an expert on the history and character of the ‘social justice’ movement.