Henry Giroux explains how the inequities built into contemporary American society—a “political and economic system that has lost touch with any vestige of decency, justice and ethics”—are bolstered by the work of right-wing gated intellectuals, such as such as William Kristol, Thomas Friedman, George Will, Dinesh D’Souza, Norman Podhoretz, Charles Murray, and David Brooks.
Overlaying the festering corruption is a discourse in which national destiny (coded in biblical scripture) becomes a political theology drawing attention away from the actual structural forces that decide who has access to health insurance, decent jobs, quality schooling and adequate health care. This disappearing act does more than whitewash history, obscure systemic inequalities of power and privatize public issues. It also creates social automatons, isolated individuals who live in gated communities along with their resident intellectuals who excite legions of consumer citizens to engage in a survival-of-the fittest ritual in order to climb heartlessly up the ladder of hyper-capitalism. The gated individual, scholar, artist, media pundit and celebrity – walled off from growing impoverished populations – are also cut loose from any ethical mooring or sense of social responsibility. Such a radical individualism and its shark-like values and practices have become the hallmark of American society. Unfortunately, hyper-capitalism does more than create a market-driven culture in which individuals demonstrate no responsibility for the other and are reduced to zombies worried about their personal safety, on the one hand, and their stock portfolios on the other. It also undermines public values, the centrality of the common good and any political arenas not yet sealed off from an awareness of our collective fate. As democracy succumbs to the instrumental politics of the market economy and the relentless hype of the commercially driven spectacle, it becomes more difficult to preserve those public spheres, dialogues and ideas through which private troubles and social issues can inform each other.
The only group missing are mainstream economists, whose work also serves “to make thinking an act of stupidity, turn lies into truths, build a moat around oppositional ideas so they cannot be accessed and destroy those institutions and social protections that serve the common good.”