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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 06:30 AM

Has America Become an Authoritarian State?

http://www.alternet.org/has-america-become-authoritarian-state



The debate in both Washington and the mainstream media over austerity measures, the alleged fiscal cliff and the looming debt crisis not only function to render anti-democratic pressures invisible, but also produce what the late sociologist C. Wright Mills once called "a politics of organized irresponsibility." For Mills, authoritarian politics developed, in part, by making the operations of power invisible while weaving a network of lies and deceptions through what might be called a politics of disconnect. That is, a politics that focuses on isolated issues that serve to erase the broader relations and historical contexts that give them meaning. These isolated issues become flashpoints in a cultural and political discourse that hide not merely the operations of power, but also the resurgence of authoritarian ideologies, modes of governance, policies and social formations that put any viable notion of democracy at risk. Decontextualized ideas and issues, coupled with the overflow of information produced by the new electronic media, make it more difficult to create narratives that offer historical understanding, relational connections and developmental sequences. The fragmentation of ideas and the cascade of information reinforce new modes of depoliticization and authoritarianism.

At the same time, more important issues are buried in the fog of what might be called isolated and manufactured crises, that when given legitimacy, actually benefit the wealthy and hurt working- and middle-class individuals and families. Gerald Epstein rightly argues that the debate about the fiscal cliff is

a debacle on the part of the Obama administration and for progressives and for workers and for families. It's a real disaster.... We shouldn't be having to sit here talking about this; we should be talking about what are going to do about the employment cliff or the climate change cliff. But instead we're talking about this fiscal cliff, which is a manufactured crisis.

The fiscal cliff argument is manufactured both in that it is not a real crisis (except for its impact on poor and middle-class families), and it serves as a diversion from pressing issues ranging from mass unemployment and widespread poverty, to the housing crisis and the student debt bomb. Moreover, it undermines understanding how these various problems are interrelated ideologically and structurally as part of an assault by religious and market fundamentalists on all aspects of public life that address the common good.

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Reply Has America Become an Authoritarian State? (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
intheflow Jan 2013 #1
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #3
KG Jan 2013 #2
xchrom Jan 2013 #4
intheflow Jan 2013 #5
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #6
bvar22 Jan 2013 #7

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:57 AM

1. I love it when writers are just catching on this now.

It's so quaint.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:02 AM

3. and few are actually paying attention

 

I hope you are working on an exit strategy; you may very well need it.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:02 AM

2. many citizens are totally ok with it. as long as the trains run on time.

don't even have to leave DU to find some.

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:06 AM

4. +1

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:07 AM

5. True and chilling. n/t

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:28 AM

6. Yup.

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:36 AM

7. The sad and frightening truth.

*

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