The ghost of Authoritarianism in the Age of the Shutdown

by Henry A. Giroux In the aftermath of the reign of Nazi terror in the 1940s, the philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote: National Socialism lives on, and even today we still do not know whether it is merely the ghost of what was so monstrous that it lingers on after its own death, or whether it has not yet died at all, whether the willingness to commit the unspeakable survives in people as well as in the conditions that enclose them.[1] Adorno’s words are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. The threat of authoritarianism  to citizen-based … Continue reading The ghost of Authoritarianism in the Age of the Shutdown

The New Extremism: Politics of distraction in the Age of Austerity

by Henry A. Giroux The debate in both Washington and the mainstream media over austerity measures, the alleged fiscal cliff and the looming debt crisis not only function to render anti-democratic pressures invisible, but also produce what the late sociologist C. Wright Mills once called “a politics of organized irresponsibility.”[1] For Mills, authoritarian politics developed, in part, by making the operations of power invisible while weaving a network of lies and deceptions through what might be called a politics of disconnect. That is, a politics that focuses on isolated issues that serve to erase the broader relations and historical contexts … Continue reading The New Extremism: Politics of distraction in the Age of Austerity

Beyond the politics of the Big Lie

by Henry A. Giroux “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. The American public is suffering from an education deficit.  By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences, and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues. This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes … Continue reading Beyond the politics of the Big Lie