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ABSTRACT. What happens to young people in a flawed democracy when thinking is eviscerated, and disdained in favor of raw emotion? What happens when political discourse functions as a bunker rather than a bridge? What happens when the spheres of morality and spirituality give way to the naked instrumentalism of a savage neoliberal economic order? What happens when time becomes a burden for many youth and surviving becomes more crucial than trying to lead a life with dignity? What happens when domestic terrorism, disposability, and social death become the new signposts and defining features of a generation of poor minority youth? What happens to a social order ruled by an “economics of contempt” that blames the young people for their condition and wallows in a culture of shaming? What happens when loneliness and isolation become the preferred modes of sociality? What happens to a polity when it retreats into private silos and is no longer able to connect personal suffering with larger social issues? What happens to thinking when a society is addicted to speed and over-stimulation? What happens to a country when the presiding principles of a society are violence and ignorance? What happens is that democracy withers, not just as an ideal but also as a reality, and youth marginalized by race and class become its first victims. pp. 11–19

Keywords: neoliberal politics; social order; youth; victim

open access

HENRY A. GIROUX
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McMaster University

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