Neoliberalism is not only an economic policy designed to cut government spending, pursue free trade policies, and liberate market forces from government regulations. It is also a political philosophy and ideology that affects every dimension of social life. Neoliberalism has heralded a radical shift that defines the citizen as consumer, disbands the social contract in the interests of privatized considerations, and separates capital from the context of place.Within this discourse, as Jean and John Comaroff have argued, "the personal is the only politics there is, the only politics with a tangible referent or emotional valence. It is in these privatized terms that action is organised, that the experience of inequity and antagonism takes meaningful shape." Unnder such circumstances, neoliberalism portends the death of politics as we know it, strips the social of its democratic values, and reconstructs agency in terms that are utterly privatized. It provides the conditions for an emerging form of proto-fascism that must be resisted at all costs. Neoliberalism not only enshrines unbridled individualism as a central feature of proto-fascism, as Herbert Marcuse reminds us, it also destroys any vestige of democratic society by undercutting its "moral material and regulatory moorings," and in doing so, offers no language for understanding how the future might be grasped outside the narrow logic of the market. But there is even more at stake here than the obliteration of public concerns, the death of the social, the emergence of a market-based fundamentalism that undercuts our ability to understand how to translate privately experienced misery into collective action, and the elim ination of the gains of the welfare state. There is also the growing threat of displacing "political sovereignty with the sovereignty of the market, as if the latter has a mind and morality of its own.'" As democracy becomes a burden under the reign of neoliberalism, civic discourse disappears and the reign of unfetered social Darwnism, with its survival-of-the-slickest philosophy, emerges as the template for a new form of proto-fascism. None of this will happen in the face of sufficient resistance, nor is the increasing move toward proto-fascism inevitable, but the conditions exist for democracy to lose all semblance of meaning----
AGAINST THE NEW AUTHORITARIANISM by HENRY GIROUX 1-894037-23-5
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