Wednesday, August 26, 2015

“Anti-democratic forces [are] at the heart of American politics” by Henry Giroux





“…Rather than forcing a populace to adhere to a particular state ideology, the general public in the United States is largely depoliticized through the influence of corporations over schools, higher education, and other cultural apparatuses. The deadening of public values, civic consciousness, and critical citizenship are also the result of the work of anti-public intellectuals representing right-wing ideological and financial interests, a powerful corporate controlled media that are largely center-right, and a market-driven public pedagogy that reduces the obligations of citizenship to the endless consumption and discarding of commodities. In addition, a pedagogy of historical, social, and racial amnesia is constructed and circulated through a highly popular celebrity culture and its counterpart in corporate-driven news, television, radio, and entertainment to produce a culture of stupidity, censorship, and diversionary spectacles…

“What is particularly troublesome is the manifestations of totalitarianism in the discourse and proposed policy measures of the extremists that now govern the Republican Party and how this is taken up in the mainstream media. One finds in the rhetoric of Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and others a mix of war like values, expressions of racism, a hatred of women’s rights, unabashed support for the financial elite, a religious fundamentalism, a celebration of war, and a deep seated hostility for all things public. Chris Christie sells himself to the American public as a bully and believes that threatening violence is a crucial element of leadership. This was on full display when he recently stated that teachers’ unions ‘are the single most destructive force in public education in America [and deserve] a punch in the face [xi]. 

“Threatening violence appears to be a powerful ideological register shared by many of the Republican Party candidates. Donald Trump comes close to supporting a form of racial cleansing by threatening to depart 11 million undocumented Mexican immigrants all the while demonizing them as rapists and criminals. This script has been played out before just prior to the genocide promoted in Nazi Germany. Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker want to abolish a woman’s right to abortion, and go so far as to argue that they would not permit women to get an abortion even if their lives depended on it. Huckabee takes this threat even further. When Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi asked Huckabee if he would send ‘the FBI or the National Guard to close abortion clinics,’ he answered 'We'll see when I'm president' [xii]. Huckabee is a real piece of work stating at one point that he would deny an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim [xiii].This hatred of women and the need to control and domesticate them to the crudest forms of male hegemony and control is central to all fascist regimes…”

from the Plague of American Authoritarianism by Henry Giroux
[xi] Chris Christie, “Chris Christie: Apologize for Threatening Teachers,” AFT A Union of Professionals, (August 15, 2015). Online at: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/chris-christie-apologize-for-threatening-teachers

[xii] Matt Taibbi, “Inside the GOP Clown Car,” Rolling Stone (August 12, 2015). Online: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-gop-clown-car-20150812

[xiii] Emily Atkin, “Huckabee Supports Denying Abortion to 10-year-Old Rape Victim,” Think Progress (August 16, 2015). Online: http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/08/16/3692100/huckabee-paraguay-rape-abortion/


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