In explaining the title of his latest book, author and scholar Henry Giroux told Bill Moyers on Friday that modern politics are sapping democracy of its vitality, and citizens of their souls.
“It turns people into zombies,” Giroux, author of Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism said on Moyers & Company. “People who basically are so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead. They lose their sense of agency — I mean, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”
Giroux chose to use zombies as a metaphor in the book, he told Moyers, to illustrate the loss of the social contract from today’s political climate.
“We have a politics that really is about the organization of the production of violence,” he explained. “It’s losing its soul. It’s losing its spirit. It’s losing its ability to speak to itself in ways that would span the human spirit and the human possibility for justice and equality.”
What kind of democracy, Giroux asked aloud, would shutter public schools and cut benefit programs like Medicaid?
“Let me answer that from the other side,” Moyers said, stepping in. “They would say to you that we cut Medicaid or food stamps because they create dependency. We closed public schools because they aren’t working, they aren’t teaching. People are coming out not ready for life.”
Giroux rejected that reasoning, calling it, “a kind of psychosis that is so divorced, is in such denial about power and how it works, and is in such denial about their attempt at what I call individualize the social,” explaining that it attempts to lay blame on the individual for all of their problems, while advocating any greater role in society for government.
“I mean, if you have an economic crisis caused by the hedge fund crooks, you know and millions of people are put out of work and they’re all lining up for unemployment, what do we hear in the national media?” Giroux asked Moyers. “We hear that maybe they don’t know how to fill out unemployment forms, maybe it’s about character. You know, maybe they’re just simply lazy.”
Watch Moyers’ interview with Giroux, as released by Moyers & Company on Friday, below.
[Image via “The Walking Dead” Facebook page]