This article argues that while the United States has been drifting toward the ideological right since the 1980s, the election of George W. Bush marks a qualitative turn toward authoritarianism. This authoritarian turn is traced through the rise of four antidemocratic tendencies in American society: neoliberalism, religious fundamentalism, militarism and educational conformism. All these fundamentalisms will be accentuated with the reelection of George W. Bush, and most of the democratic gains of the last century will be rolled back. In opposition to this rising tide of authoritarianism, the author calls for the primacy of a cultural politics in which learning is linked to social change and pedagogy is embraced as a moral and political practice that takes place in a wide range of cultural sites.
The Conservative Assault on America: Cultural Politics, Education and the New Authoritarianism
HENRY A. GIROUX HOLDS THE GLOBAL TV NETWORK CHAIR IN COMMUNICATIONS AT MCMASTER UNIVERSITY IN CANADA. HIS MOST RECENT BOOKS INCLUDE: THE ABANDONED GENERATION: DEMOCRACY BEYOND THE CULTURE OF FEAR (PALGRAVE 2004A); COAUTHORED WITH SUSAN SEARLS GIROUX, TAKE BACK HIGHER EDUCATION: RACE, YOUTH, AND THE CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY IN THE POST CIVIL RIGHTS ERA (PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2004); AND THE TERROR OF NEOLIBERALISM (PARADIGM 2004B).