HENRY A. GIROUX
(TheRealNews.com video interview)
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others: we are interested solely in power, pure power. Power is not a means; it is an end.... The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
In this interview with The Real News Network, I argue that while it may seem hard to believe that Trump has appointed to high government positions a number of religious fundamentalists, conspiracy-theory advocates, billionaires, misogynists, climate-change deniers and retrograde anti-communists, this should come as no surprise given the anti-democratic conditions that produced Trump in the first place. Not only do these individuals uniformly lack the experience to take on the jobs for which they were nominated, they are unapologetic about destroying the government agencies in which they have been put in charge.
These appointments are indicative of forthcoming policy decisions that will increase the attack on democratic institutions and public goods, as well as the degree to which power will be further consolidated in the hands of the financial elite. While there is little doubt that Trump's gaggle of appointees represents a deep embrace of ignorance and crony capitalism and a disdain for the institutions that give legitimacy to the social contract and the welfare state, these administrative heads also represent the front guard of the dark times that are to come, times that will be marked by a combination of state repression and unchecked collusion among big corporations, banks and the ultra-rich. Yet not only has Trump turned a number of important cabinet positions over to the most criminogenic elements of neoliberalism, he has also filled cabinet and high-level positons with generals, ensuring that the militarization of American society will not simply be continued, but accelerated. This mix of incompetent and mean-spirited billionaires and generals represents support of the worst elements of militarism and neoliberalism -- a war on education, support for austerity policies and an attack on social provisions, the poor, workers, unions and the most vulnerable. Under Trump's administration, a war culture will morph with an updated version of the Gilded Age. Trump's government of billionaires and militarists makes clear that the next few years will be governed by ruthless financial elite who will give new meaning to an updated version of authoritarianism that will accelerate the misery, suffering and exploitation of a wider sector of American society.
-- Henry A. Giroux