You don’t live in America, you survive it

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 1:53 pm by George Smith

From a book by a man named Henry Giroux, who was interviewed by Bill Moyers recently:

The ideology of hardness and cruelty runs through American culture like an electric current…”

He adds: “Yeah, it sure does. I mean, to see poor people, their benefits being cut, to see pensions of Americans who have worked like my father, all their lives, and taken away, to see the rich just accumulating more and more wealth.”

Giroux gets directly at the American belief system that poverty is a matter of personal inferiority and that it is proper to victimize the poor because they deserve it.

“Young people are seen as disposable,” he says.

It made me want to get his book, “Zombie Politics,” which is where this is from. And I’d buy it. But you can’t afford such things when all you can make is what comes from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk digital sweat shop.

The interview is here and it’s long but there is also a transcript.

Giroux has quite a lot to say, much of it which will be familiar to readers of Escape from WhiteManistan.

Some more excerpts:

So what we begin to see is the emergence of a kind of ethic, a survival of the fittest ethic that legitimates the most incredible forms of cruelty, that seems to suggest that freedom in this discourse of getting rid of society, getting rid of the social– that discourse is really only about self-interest, that possessive individualism is now the only virtue that matters. So freedom, which is essential to any notion of democracy, now becomes nothing more than a matter of pursuing your own self interests. No society can survive under those conditions.

I mean, it seems to me that there has to be a point where you have to say, “No, this has to stop.” We can’t allow ourselves to be driven by those lies anymore. We can’t allow those who are rich, who are privileged, who are entitled, who accumulate wealth to simply engage in a flight from social and moral and political responsibility by blaming the people who are victimized by those policies as the source of those problems.

It believes that social bonds not driven by market values are basically bonds that we should find despicable …

What does it mean when you turn on the television in the United States and you see young kids, peaceful protesters, lying down with their hands locked and you got a guy with, you know, spraying them with pepper spray as if there’s something normal about that, as if that’s all it takes, that’s how we solve problems? I mean, I guess the question here is what is it in a culture that would allow the public to believe that with almost any problem that arises, force is the first way to address it.

Giroux asserts America is not a democracy. I’ve agreed for a long time. We live, or more accurately — survive, in a corporate fascist state.

And when it comes for you and it will, eventually, you’ll get to see what Mechanical Turk, or something even worse, is like, too.

On the bright seam of malevolence in American society, or as Giroux puts it — the ideology of hardness and cruelty runs through American culture like an electric currenta description of Tea Party philosophy, the same as the ideology of the old John Birch Society:

[Today’s] tea party is the modern-day rebirth of the John Birch Society. They share a world view …The same paranoid distrust of government. The same desire to protect the rich. The same cruel streak that blames the poor for their poverty and seeks to deny government help on that basis.

Hat tip to Frank at Pine View Farm.

Two faces of malevolence in America.

Want an MP3 for your devices? Click here.

And if you don’t think this is folk music or that it doesn’t efficiently use art to accurately describe the American condition, there’s something wrong with your head, a condition no one can fix.


  1. Tom Paterson said,

    November 26, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Because I want to keep a promise to Raj and keep warm.

    *In most cases, an amount of GBP 1.00 showing on your account is related to one of our security measures to confirm the validity of your payment card.*

    This small (hidden) charge resulted (embarrassingly) in a subsequent transaction being declined … each month my credit balance ends up as being just a few pennies so 100 pennies is significant to me. And it was then that the idea for this tip came to me. Fire off e-mails of complaint to Amazon customer services; they will then send you various boilerplate stock responses each of which has as the complimentary close *Warm regards*. Collect all these *warm regards* and use them to heat your home. It’s 50 ºF here in the room as I type (cold enough for hypothermia) so I probably need some more.

    Hello Raj,

    Glad to realise that you at Customer Services are working from within to overthrow vile Bezos.

    I will do my best to publicise your struggle.

    Rgds, TP

    I got a response … you can guess.

    Not very original but hey, that’s why I’m poor.

  2. Tom Paterson said,

    November 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

    ‘d back-formed *vile Bezos* from Shakespeare’s *vile besonians*. It looks like a first occurrence. So creativity at last!