Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
“Thoughtlessness is the essence of totalitarianism.” —Hannah Arendt, quoted by Henry Giroux, Professor at McMasters University in Hamilton, Ontario, whose new book, America at War with Itself, explores the rise of authoritarian culture and politics in the US.
Editor: Giroux’s book says what I have long felt: that there is a war going on in America, a civil war, a war of “all against all.”
To what extent is the contemporary Buddhist imperative to “not think” a possible contributor to totalitarianism?
From poisoned water and police violence in our cities, to gun massacres and hate-mongering on the presidential campaign trail, evidence that America is at war with itself is everywhere around us. The question is not whether or not it’s happening, but how to understand the forces at work in order to prevent conditions from getting worse. Henry A. Giroux offers a powerful, far-reaching critique of the economic interests, cultural dimensions, and political dynamics involved in the nation’s shift toward increasingly abusive forms of power. His analysis helps us to frame critical questions about what can and should be done to turn things around while we can.
Reflecting on a wide range of social issues, Giroux contrasts Donald Trump’s America with Sandra Bland’s to understand who really benefits from politically fueled intolerance for immigrants, communities of color, Muslims, low-income families, and those who challenge state and corporate power. A passionate advocate for civil rights and the importance of the imagination, Giroux argues that only through widespread social investment in democracy and education can the common good hope to prevail over the increasingly concentrated influence of extreme right-wing politicians and self-serving economic interests.
Praise for America at War with Itself:
“This is the book Americans need to read now. No one is better than Henry Giroux at analyzing the truly dangerous threats to our society. He punctures our delusions and offers us a compelling and enlightened vision of a better way. America at War with Itself is the best book of the year. “––Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times
“In this current era of corporate media misdirection and misinformation, America at War with Itself is a must read for all Americans, especially young people. Henry Giroux is one of the few great political voices of today, with powerful insight into the truth. Dr. Giroux is defiantly explaining, against the grain, what’s REALLY going on right now, and doing so quite undeniably. Simply put, the ideas he brings forth are a beacon that need to be seen and heard and understood in order for the world to progress.”––Julian Casablancas
“In America at War with Itself, Henry Giroux again proves himself one of North America’s most clear-sighted radical philosophers of education, culture and politics: radical because he discards the chaff of liberal critique and cuts to the root of the ills that are withering democracy. Giroux also connects the dots of reckless greed, corporate impunity, poverty, mass incarceration, racism and the co-opting of education to crush critical thinking and promote a culture that denigrates and even criminalizes civil society and the public good. His latest work is the antidote to an alarming tide of toxic authoritarianism that threatens to engulf America. The book could not be more timely. “––Olivia Ward, Toronto Star
“The current U.S. descent into authoritarianism did not just happen. As Henry Giroux brilliantly shows it was the result of public pedagogical work in a number of institutions that were part of a long-standing assault on public goods, the social contract, and democracy itself. Giroux powerfully skewers oppressive forces with the hallmark clarity and rigor that has made him one of the most important cultural critics and public intellectuals in North America. His sharp insights provide readers with the intellectual tools to challenge the tangle of fundamentalisms that characterize the political system, economy, and culture in the current conjuncture. America at War with Itself makes the case for real ideological and structural change at a time when the need and stakes could not be greater. Everyone who cares about the survival and revival of democracy needs to read this book.”––Kenneth Saltman, Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Author of The Failure of Corporate School Reform
“In book after book, decade after decade, Henry Giroux has joined Noam Chomsky among our most prolific, clear-sighted public intellectuals. His latest, America at War with Itself, begins with Donald Trump’s rise in the 2016 election as symptomatic of the anti-democratic forces Giroux has anatomized in American society, including the sway of authoritarianism, violence, militarism, and ‘the terror of neoliberalism.’ This book provides bracing revelations of the evasion of cogent causal analysis in our mainstream public discourse. For example, ‘The call for gun rights conveniently side steps and ignores criticizing a popular culture and corporate controlled media which uses violence to attract viewers, increase television ratings, produce Hollywood blockbusters, and sell video games that celebrate first person shooters. . . . Such violence serves not only to produce an insensitivity to real life violence but also functions to normalize violence as both a source of pleasure and as a practice for addressing social issues.'”––Donald Lazare, author of Thinking Critically About Media and Politics and Why Higher Education SHOULD Have a Leftist Bias.
Henry A. Giroux’s most recent books include The Violence of Organized Forgetting and America’s Addiction to Terrorism. A prolific writer and political commentator, he has appeared in a wide range of media, including The New York Times and Bill Moyers.
Publisher City Lights Publishers
Nb of pages 320 p.