Monday, December 12, 2016

Henry Giroux on - Of Course, Trump

American public intellectual, Henry Giroux, sees his homeland about to embark on America's "Second Gilded Age" dominated by  "The Rule of Billionaires and Militarists."

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made it clear that he liked the uneducated and that once he assumed the presidency, he would appoint a range of incompetent people to high ranking positions that would insure that many people remain poorly educated, illiterate, and impoverished. A few examples make the point. Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education is a multi-millionaire, has no experience in higher education, supports for-profit charter schools, and is a strong advocate for private school vouchers. Without irony, she has described her role in education as one way to “advance God’s kingdom.” She is anti-union, and her motto for education affirms Trump’s own educational philosophy to “defund, devalue, and privatize.”

As for Trump's housing secretary, Ben Carson, Giroux leaves it up to New York City council:

New York City council member and chair of the city’s Housing and Buildings Committee described Carson’s appointment as “ill-advised, irresponsible and hovers on absurdity.” Carson will run a $48 billion agency that oversees public housing and ensures that low-income families have access to housing that is safe and affordable. He believes people can escape from poverty through hard work alone and has argued that government regulations resemble forms of totalitarian rule comparable to what existed in communist countries.

It is hard to believe that this gaggle of religious fundamentalists, conspiracy theory advocates, billionaires, and retrograde anti-communists, who uniformly lack the experience to take on the jobs for which they were nominated, could possibly be viewed as reasonable candidates for top government positions. As Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) cited in The Hill observed, most of Trump’s appointees are “The greatest collection of stooges and cronies and misfits we have ever seen in a presidential administration….Some of these people’s only qualifications for the jobs they are being appointed for is that they have attempted to dismantle and undermine and destroy the very agencies they are now hoping to run.”

What these appointments suggest is that one element of the new authoritarianism is a deep embrace of ignorance, anti-intellectualism, crony capitalism, and a disdain for the institutions that give legitimacy to the social contract and the welfare state. Most of Trump’s appointees to top cabinet positions are a mix of incompetent and mean spirited billionaires and generals. This alliance of powerful representatives of predatory financial capitalists and right-wing supporters of the immense military-industrial-surveillance complex makes clear Trump’s support of the worst elements of neoliberalism—a war on education, support for austerity policies, and an attack on social provisions, the poor, workers, unions, and the most vulnerable.

Where is Charles Dickens now that we need him?


Northern PoV said...

Your Trump obsession will prove to be very unhealthy on a personal stress level. Take a break for your own sanity.

We are all just arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic now.
I've decided to find a nice spot next to the chamber orchestra.

oh and as to yesterday's discussion...

"Truth is, we know nothing about the veracity of this leaked information from the CIA. As to the truth of these reports, I remain agnostic in these matters and highly recommend others do too. While we know nothing about the truth of these reports, we know a lot coldwarantabout the messenger delivering this news, and what we know should give us pause before accepting news of a Russian electoral coup here at home."

The Mound of Sound said...

No, NPoV, Trump is a minor distraction to me. My personal stress levels are far more influenced by the state of our ecological degradation including climate change, overpopulation and our profligate excess consumption and waste. I suspect that some of the more worrisome facets of those threats will be significantly worsened by Trump but that's a matter of timing and degree.