There is a growing sense in American life that politics has become corrupt. Those traditional public spheres in which people could exchange ideas, debate, and shape the conditions that structured their everyday lives increasingly appear to have little relevance or political importance. Within the increasing corporatization of everyday life, market values replace social values and people appear more and more willing to re treat into the safe, privatized enclaves of the family, religion, and consumption. The result is not only silence and indifference, but the terrible price paid in what Zygmunt Bauman calls the “hard currency of human suffering.”
By now, you’ve probably heard there’s a “war against boys” in America. The latest heavily-hyped right-wing fusillade against feminism, led by Christina Hoff Sommers’s new book of that title, claims that men are now the second sex and that boys–not girls–are the ones who are in serious trouble, the “victims” of “misguided” feminist efforts to protect and promote girls’ development. They counsel anguished parents to “rescue” or “protect” boys–not from feminists but from a definition of masculinity that is harmful to boys, girls, and other living things.
Education is everywhere in crisis. This is true not just in the failed schools of our inner cities but also in our successful” schools where we are spending huge sums to turn out graduates who lack a moral conscience to match the power of their skills to destroy, to make greedy profits, and to despoil the earth for future generations.