LISTEN: Our "culture of cruelty" gave rise to Trump

This week on "The Chauncey DeVega Show" podcast, I talk to philosopher Henry Giroux about democracy on life support

By Chauncey DeVega
April 25, 2017 12:00AM (UTC)
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(AP/Evan Vucci)

For several decades, philosopher Henry Giroux has been documenting the decline of America's political and social institutions. In his dozens of books and articles such as "America at War with Itself" and the forthcoming "The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism," Giroux has sounded the alarm — what he describes as "the culture of cruelty" — about the conditions that made the election of the neofascist demagogue Donald Trump possible. I recently spoke with Dr. Giroux for my podcast where he shared his thoughts about neoliberalism, the errors made by Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary, and how loneliness and bigotry influenced Donald Trump's voters.

During our conversation (read the transcript here), Giroux offered the following troubling insights. On the current political moment, "It’s a democracy that’s on life support. It can’t breathe. I don’t think we are tipping over into neofascism. I think we’ve tipped over. It’s just a more subtle form of neofascism than anything we’ve seen in the past."


He also has a vision for what could potentially unite the American people against Donald Trump and horrific social and political forces he represents:

"The first thing that has to be talked about, without any question whatsoever, is a national health care plan. Second, we need a social wage, a universal wage. Third, we need a jobs program. Fourth, we need a mass movement organized against militarism, inequality, racism, the threat of nuclear war and the destruction of the planet. That means a movement organized against global neoliberalism."

On this week's show I also share offer some thoughts about Bill O'Reilly's departure from Fox News and read the court transcript of his infamous "falafel" sexual harassment lawsuit. And I update the conversation from last week about Chicago's "hillbilly" panic during the 1950s--this time with letters to the editor that were featured in the Chicago Tribune.

Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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