Thursday, September 10, 2015

Neoliberalism: the most dangerous ideology of our time

Giroux is brilliant at expressing complex ideas in poetic style, sort of Kerouac-meets-Chomsky-meets James Baldwin: polity, percarity, pedagogy, agency, “emancipatory trappings”, “repression and the militarization of thought itself”, “the contemporary tyranny of reason”, “ossified logic of the market and its principle of risk”, “economic management of security governance”, the “thought-crime model of social control”, “an inspired conformity”….the list goes on and on, page after riveting page as if from a stream of consciousness, or better yet, a stream of pedagogical activism and conscientious love of the social good.

Giroux seamlessly connects neoliberalism with the collapse of public education and the defunding of higher education; the marginalization of labor unions, teachers, academics and intellectuals; opposition to increasing the minimum wage; the spectacle of unemployment, predatory capitalism, student loans and student debt; job out-sourcing, commodification of the environment and public spaces; privatization of social services for the poor, women, minorities, youth, the elderly and a rampant consumerism to serve as the measurement for success, profit and investment; the rise and expansion of the surveillance state, the security state, prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline; the transfer of public money into the warfare state; deregulation of finance; the elimination of public spaces and democratic spheres; disposability and accumulation of wealth by dispossession; institutionalized racism and sexism; media collusion to disinform; the implementation of severe austerity measures on the backs of the middle class; the criminalization of poverty and the war against the poor; police violence, social violence, drone assassinations, the war on terror, deregulated lobbyists and religious fundamentalism.

The book is only 240 pages but it clearly demonstrates that neoliberalism – “the most dangerous ideology of our time” – like a cancer, has, ever since Ronald Reagan’s administration, replaced long-cherished principles of democracy with a new form of authoritarianism and violent spectacle. Giroux’s book is, indeed, terrifying and essential, as Bob Herbert wrote on the cover. It is an important contribution to the resistance movement struggling to reclaim democratic principles and values of equality and justice.