Henry Giroux on a Politics of Cruelty Without Euphemisms

Henry A. Giroux. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)Henry A. Giroux. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)In this wide-ranging interview with Mickey Huff, head of Project Censored, Henry Giroux addresses a number of issues that constitute various elements of US authoritarianism. He brings together a number of issues affected by the concentration of power and wealth, including the emergence of a culture of cruelty, hardness, corruption, militarism, racism and violence that has reached down into everyday life while compromising a number of public institutions, including higher education, the criminal legal system and health care.

Giroux is particularly interested in rethinking the end of the ideology debate by arguing that neoliberal politics is no longer interested in camouflaging its market-driven, death-dealing policies and is quite unapologetic about the misery and suffering it is imposing on the American people under the project of making the wealthy elite even richer.

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The financial elites and big corporations in the United States have so much power and wealth, coupled with an unbridled degree of arrogance, that they no longer rely heavily on ideology to justify capitalism’s multiple forms of lawlessness and oppression. As neoliberalism morphs into a US version of authoritarianism, civil society is turned into a site of economic nationalism and a spectacle of disparagement and humiliation. The state violence and acts of domestic terrorism that are legitimated and sanctioned in the Trump administration are obscured through a politics of diversion, but their effects are producing widespread suffering and will increasingly make visible the violence of an authoritarian regime.

The United States has entered a period of politics without euphemisms, a no-holds-barred frontal assault on democratic values, institutions and social relations, wrapped up in the discourse of greed and practices characteristic of an authoritarian mode of governance.

Giroux ends by talking about the need for a comprehensive politics that rejects the two-party system and relies upon young people and others in order to rewrite the script of democracy through sustainable social movement dedicated to democratic socialism.