Between Orwell and Huxley in the Age of New Authoritarianism

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“Collective opposition is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.” This was the impassioned call-to-action made by McMaster University scholar and public intellectual Henry Giroux during a recent lecture in which he described what he calls the “vindictive chaos” of politics in the United States, comparing Trump’s America to the dystopian worlds of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. “The body of democracy is on life support and the wounds now being inflicted upon it are alarming. This certainly raises questions about what role educational institutions should take in the face of impending tyranny,” says Giroux. “At the heart of such efforts is the question of what education should accomplish in a democracy under siege.” The talk featured in the video was part of a special event hosted by McMaster University.—Erica Balch