The new extremism unleashes all the forces of brutal self-absorption that deepen and expand both the structure of cruelty and its ongoing privatization. Material self-interests have weakened any sense of collective purpose, just as America's obsession with radical individualism and wealth and the growing existence of gross inequality have become symptomatic of our ethical and collective impoverishment.
Still, it can't help but seem slightly paradoxical to describe an "every man for himself" ethic as "authoritarian." However, the state doesn't exactly disappear in Giroux's dystopia. Instead of the nurturing, regulating state he idealizes, it becomes a "punishing state" more likely to use force against the poor or anyone who challenges the reigning ideology through acts of solidarity or resistance. And you can bet, if you believe this scenario, that those dissidents will be the ones accused of authoritarian if not totalitarian tendencies, because they'll be presumed worshipers of an all-powerful state and haters of freedom.
Republicans themselves, since the 1980s, have insisted on a distinction between "authoritarian" and "totalitarian" forms of tyranny. According to the theorist of this distinction, the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick, authoritarian regimes might be deplorable in practice but were more acceptable on principle than totalitarian states. This is because authoritarian states, generally speaking, allowed more economic freedom than totalitarian states. Ideally, that allowed for the formation of a "civil society" that would inevitably claim political freedoms, while totalitarian states were presumed irreconcilably hostile to both economic freedom and civil society. By Republican standards, then, Giroux may be on to something when he observes a slide toward authoritarianism in the U.S. We might ask, however, whether the essence of "totalitarianism," if you grant any essence to the concept, is its hostility to economic freedom or its hostility to civil society. If civil society itself begins to question unconditional economic freedom, and a society dogmatically committed to economic liberty above all other values resolves to crush all challenges, whether through cultural propaganda, social engineering or other means, wouldn't the country in question have a totalitarian tendency, too? How's that for a paradox?