As the forces of neoliberalism gain ascendency in the United States, democratic public spheres must confront a growing crisis—one that impacts subjectivity as much as the material conditions in which most people must now struggle to survive. Politics has become an extension of war as a range of groups are now considered disposable, including immigrants, low-income and poor ethnic minority youth, the elderly, the unemployed, the homeless, and people of color. Higher education is an important sphere that has historically supported a democratic public culture by infusing students with moral and political agency, critical thinking, and public values. But higher education, like American popular culture, is now in the grip of state-supported corporate power that seeks to reproduce and reward an orientation to the world infused with authoritarian ideas, practices, and principles. While facing widespread demoralization, higher education must be vigorously defended against corporatization because it is one of the few public spheres left that offers a space for critical dialogue, exchange, and dissent. Indeed, if American democracy is to have a future, all the various pedagogical apparatuses available in the larger culture must be embraced and transformed in order to support critical thinking, public intellectuals, and a public culture capable of exerting a formative educational influence in favor of democratic freedom, justice, and equality.
Giroux, Henry A.
"Democracy in Crisis, the Specter of Authoritarianism, and the Future of Higher Education,"
Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs: Vol. 1
, Article 7.
Available at: http://ecommons.luc.edu/jcshesa/vol1/iss1/7