dinsdag 10 januari 2017

Henry Giroux on Trump

Henry A. Giroux: Trump’s Cabinet Will 

Be a Group of ‘Neoliberal Evangelicals’ 

Posted on Jan 9, 2017
Trump’s appointments “are indicative of forthcoming policy decisions that will increase the attack on democratic institutions and public goods,” Henry Giroux told The Real News Network.

Giroux writes:
In this interview with The Real News Network, I argue that while it may seem hard to believe that Trump has appointed to high government positions a number of religious fundamentalists, conspiracy-theory advocates, billionaires, misogynists, climate-change deniers and retrograde anti-communists, this should come as no surprise given the anti-democratic conditions that produced Trump in the first place. Not only do these individuals uniformly lack the experience to take on the jobs for which they were nominated, they are unapologetic about destroying the government agencies in which they have been put in charge.
These appointments are indicative of forthcoming policy decisions that will increase the attack on democratic institutions and public goods, as well as the degree to which power will be further consolidated in the hands of the financial elite. While there is little doubt that Trump’s gaggle of appointees represents a deep embrace of ignorance and crony capitalism and a disdain for the institutions that give legitimacy to the social contract and the welfare state, these administrative heads also represent the front guard of the dark times that are to come, times that will be marked by a combination of state repression and unchecked collusion among big corporations, banks and the ultra-rich. Yet not only has Trump turned a number of important cabinet positions over to the most criminogenic elements of neoliberalism, he has also filled cabinet and high-level positons with generals, ensuring that the militarization of American society will not simply be continued, but accelerated. This mix of incompetent and mean-spirited billionaires and generals represents support of the worst elements of militarism and neoliberalism—a war on education, support for austerity policies and an attack on social provisions, the poor, workers, unions and the most vulnerable. Under Trump’s administration, a war culture will morph with an updated version of the Gilded Age. Trump’s government of billionaires and militarists makes clear that the next few years will be governed by ruthless financial elite who will give new meaning to an updated version of authoritarianism that will accelerate the misery, suffering and exploitation of a wider sector of American society.
Below is a rushed transcript provided by The Real News Network.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly


KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network, I’m Kim Brown, in Baltimore.
Well, Donald Trump is forming his cabinet very much in his own image—white, male and wealthy—with few exceptions. Highly corporatized and militarized, with few public servants or diplomats, it appears as though the long held desire of conservatives to have the federal government run as a business, could soon be coming to pass. So, what does this mean for the rest of us and for the country at large?
Well, to discuss this, we’re joined with Henry Giroux. He is a professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest at McMaster University. He’s also the author of America’s Addiction to Terrorism and America at War With Itself. Professor Giroux, thank you so much for joining us.

HENRY GIROUX: Hi, Kim. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
KIM BROWN: Well, there’s a lot being said about President-elect Trump’s cabinet picks, one of which is being mentioned: this piece in the Boston Globe says that his cabinet picks so far have a combined wealth of over $13 billion, which is more than the gross domestic product of 70 small countries. Have we ever seen a president select this many billionaires and CEOs to be part of his cabinet?
HENRY GIROUX: There’s no historical precedent that I know of, but I think the emphasis on the fact that they’re simply rich, is important, but it may miss the point. And I think the real point is that these are neoliberal evangelicals. I mean, these are people who are absolutely wedded to a notion that the economy should govern all aspects of social life, and it basically should consolidate the wealth of the ultra-rich.
So, I think that in talking about people like Rex Tillerson and talking about Andrew Puzder, Wilbur Ross, Ryan Zinke, I mean, these are all people who want to basically destroy the social contract, deregulate business to the degree that is at all possible with this new cabinet, and basically bring us back to the Gilded Age. That’s certainly one way to look at this.
But, I think the other way to look at this, is that there’s a certain alliance of groups coming ... of individuals coming together in this cabinet that speak to an alarming set of elements that would constitute, what I call, a new kind of neofascism, an American form of authoritarianism, and I think the economic fundamentalists that you’ve referred to, these ultra neoliberalists, are just one segment of that group. But, yes, they’re rich. They’re wealthy, they’re powerful, and they would like to do everything they can to make the United States government simply an arm—or an agent—of a corporate culture that benefits the rich.
KIM BROWN: You mentioned some really interesting points, because some of his appointments to some of these cabinet positions seem at odds with the actual agency itself. As you mentioned his pick for Secretary of Labor, is the CEO of Hardee’s, and does not seem to be in favor of raising the federal minimum wage. His choice to head the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, once sued the EPA himself. So, what does it serve to have people in these positions who seem hostile, at least in their histories, to these agencies themselves?
HENRY GIROUX: No, it’s a great question, Kim, because I think that in almost every appointment that we’re looking at, whether we’re talking about Puzder—he also opposes worker protections, and he also runs sexist ads for Hardee’s, which he thinks that women eating hamburgers in bikinis is a central part of American culture. I think that what all of these appointments are designed to do and what they’re suggesting, is that they want to eliminate any ... or weaken as much as possible, any cabinet position that in some way is related to the social contract, any cabinet position that in some way would place regulations on business. Any position, any cabinet position that in some way would serve the ends of democracy and benefit a wide range of people.
I mean, these people are being appointed, not because they’re simply stupid and incompetent and unqualified, but because they harbor such a hatred, I would argue, for these institutions, for government regulations, for institutions that in some way provide social provisions, that their basic game is to destroy them.
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