We live in the age of a new brutalism marked not simply by an indifference to multiple social problems, but also defined by a kind of mad delight in the spectacle and exercise of violence and cruelty. The United States is sullied by a brutalism that is perfectly consistent with a new kind of barbaric power, one that puts millions of people in prison, subjects an entire generation to a form of indentured citizenship, and strips people of the material and symbolic resources they need to exercise their capacity to live with dignity and justice.”
America the Brutalful doesn’t require much of an actual government. The colossal, most lethal military money can buy to wage wars on foreign soil for profit and a militarized police force to suppress internal dissent and manage the world’s biggest prison system are all that is required. The executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government serve solely as the choir to the corporate preacher.
In his book ‘Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism’, the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes:
“The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.” 
Democracy Incorporated is the near-complete realization of an America the German economist Werner Sombart called in 1906, “the Canaan of capitalism, its promised land.” What has always been the goal of the rich white elite — a promised land for the wealthy, free of government intrusion, where all things, particularly the vulnerable, can and therefore should be exploited, is essentially here.
The loose ends are being tied. Monumental social reforms of the 1960s and 70s have been eroded by recent Supreme Court rulings. In its 2013 Alabama v. Holder ruling, the Court essentially nullified the Voting Rights Act of 1965, granting a green light for states to enact laws that will likely reduce minority voter participation. 2014’s Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action decision siding with the state of Michigan, which banned its colleges and universities from using race and gender as part of their admissions protocols, effectively disaffirmed affirmative action, leaving diversity in the hands of administrators. The 2010 Citizens United decision administered a lethal injection to any notion of campaign finance reform, opening the floodgates of corporate money to gush into the election process. The Schuette v. Coalition decision in particular parallels the national systematic transformation of higher education from institutions promoting a diversity of ideas, a vital function for a living democracy, to corporate prep factories. This Wal-Martification of higher education constructs dams across the flowing rivers of fresh ideas, creating stagnant reservoirs of the status quo. Professors are increasingly losing academic influence to administrators, stripping the soul from pedagogy.
In 1969, nearly 80% of public college and university faculty were tenure-track positions. By 2009 that number had plummeted to 33.5%. This new American academic labor system has radically reduced full-time, tenure-tracked faculty in favor of non-tenure-tracked employees known as adjunct or contingent faculty, who, like Wal-Mart workers, are mostly part-time. 51% of these part-time public college and university instructors receive no benefits. The majority of both full-time and part-time contingent faculty receive no long term commitment from their institutions and have no involvement in curriculum planning or faculty meetings.
In a 2014 essay, Henry Giroux, critical pedagogy theorist and author of ‘The University in Chains’ and ‘Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education’, wrote:
“What might it mean to define the university as a public good and democratic sphere rather than as an institution that has aligned itself with market values and is more attentive to market fluctuations and investor interests than educating students to be critically engaged citizens?”
It is the myth of America the Beautiful that remains up front, burned into the minds of the managed like a cattle brand. The masters just press the usual buttons to keep truth flying high above their heads like a stealth bomber on a covert mission of death and destruction.
Think about the Great Recession of 2007-09, which came down after Wall Street rolled snake-eyes with America’s money, causing millions to lose their jobs, their savings, and their homes. Meanwhile, the financial barons actually consolidated and strengthened their power by doing what they do so well: skillfully manipulating a purposefully confused society. Through their political lapdogs and their privately-owned propaganda industry, they manufactured cultural focal points of fear and insecurity, circling the wagons around the myth, diverting folks from reality, tricking them into believing America’s predicament resulted from drug-dealing, job-stealing brown people from Mexico, godless brown-skinned terrorists from the Middle East, an internal culture of unpatriotic liberals enabling lazy black folks, and corrupt labor unions demanding outrageous benefits and pensions for their coddled members, robbing opportunity from good, hard-working Americans.
America’s beautiful face is a conglomerate, a skin of managed myths. Peel it back and the beautiful is revealed as the brutal. The public cheers elicited by the mere mention of troops or wounded warriors are as unconscious a response as frog legs twitching in a frying pan. Nobody dares ask what the wounded are wounded for, and certainly no one challenges their neighbor to express feelings for the men, women and children America wounded or killed. The same aircraft that blow folks to pieces as “collateral damage” in the exploitation of vulnerable societies’ resources fly in glorious formation over American sports stadiums, where misty-eyed crowds place hands over hearts in collective worship of a heartless America. Any military spectacle is treated as if it were an extension of Jesus himself.
No one asks why. Too few think about it.