Neo-Liberalism: Antithesis of Democracy

In this interview on TaftTalks entitled “Neoliberalism, Youth and Social Justice“, Truthout contributor Henry A. Giroux discusses the basics of what can be seen as an ongoing and accelerating war between the rich and everyone else, an event that has resulted in a mass inability in his words “to translate private troubles into larger structural public considerations.”

Examining the origins and influence of Neo-Liberalism – a 19th Century re-incarnation of unfettered Capitalism that came out of the “conservative revolution” of the early 1980’s under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Giroux characterizes Neoliberalism as –

the coming of age of corporate power in combination with various forms of religious, military, and educational fundamentalisms in which war becomes aligned with big business, corporate power replaces state-based political sovereignty, religious extremism shapes everyday policies, and the punishing state works in tandem with the devolution of the welfare or social state.

This TaftTalks interview is related to an essay published on Moyers and Company by Prof. Giroux entitled “Henry Giroux On Resisting The Neoliberal Revolution“, a reaction to an essay by former congressional staff member Mike Lofgren who served on both the House and Senate budget committees that had been published earlier on the same program in which Lofgren posits a Deep State, an extensive long-term genealogy in which power remains invisible while serving the interests of the financial elites, the corporatocracy, and other authoritarian regimes.


The “Deep State” does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.

All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted.

The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. —- Mike Lofgren.

In his response regarding what he terms as the Neoliberal Revolution, Professor Giroux lays out the essence of Neoliberalism’s threat to Democracy, citing its use of the mass media to convince the populace a la Edward Bernays, that a good citizen is a good consumer and that making money is an earmark of individual and social responsibility.

Neoliberalism is a new form of hybrid global financial authoritarianism. It is connected to the Deep State and marked by its savage willingness in the name of accumulation, privatization, deregulation, dispossession and power to make disposable a wide range of groups extending from low income youth and poor minorities to elements of the middle class that have lost jobs, social protections and hope.

In my estimation, the Deep State is symptomatic of something more ominous, the rise of a new form of authoritarianism, a counter-revolution in which society is being restructured and advanced under what might be called the neoliberal revolution. This is a revolution in which the welfare state is being liquidated, along with the collective provisions that supported it. It is a revolution in which economics drives politics. —- Henry Giroux.

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