Want to know the fate of the US in a few years? Just watch Brazil. The similarity in the trends are astonishing, particularly the way the parties of the “right” grovel before the Left.
Brazilian President Lula has the reputation in the US of being something of a moderate, supporting leftist ideals on the one hand while maintaining the free market on the other. This little sop thrown toward market economics has enabled Lula to fly under the same radar that exposed the antics of the more flamboyant Hugo Chavez.
But behind the Lula mask is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist.
On the surface, one might think what is happening in Brazil has nothing to do with us.
One would be dead wrong.
As Olavo de Carvalho has pointed out before on this site, what is happening in Brazil today is a depressing reflection of what can easily happen in the US tomorrow, ie, the loss of the free market – and it will, unless we wake up promptly.
What Mr. de Carvalho has noticed and so many others are missing, is that our nemesis is not the hard Left, but rather the lukewarm right.
Look at the unmistakable similarity between Brazilian and US politics, for example. Quote:
At variance with the general chatter of those who fancy themselves the keepers of public opinion, all research shows the decidedly conservative preferences of the Brazilian people, who, thanks to a gross miscalculation of the parties on the “right,” are excluded from political representation. The votes of the silent majority are up for grabs for any candidate with the courage to speak on its behalf. Meanwhile, the politicians who should do this prefer to make like good little boys for the beautiful people on the left, in exchange for nothing more than minimal guarantees for the free market.
The Brazilians are a dead ringer for us, only just a few years further Left. The only thing that may save us is taking a lesson from what has happened there (and, for that matter, in Europe). But will we? American conservatives are becoming so isolationist that many refuse to pay attention to what is happening elsewhere in the world, in the false belief that the universal laws that govern human behavior will somehow spare us.
To borrow from Ben Stein: is anyone paying attention out there? Anyone? Anyone?
The formula for poverty
by Olavo de Carvalho
In 2003, Brazil ranked number 58 in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. In 2008 it ranks 101. The direct relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is the most obvious thing in the world. Anyone who doubts this need only check out the 10 first and 10 last ranked on the heritage list. At the top, Japan and Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Australia, United States, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. At the bottom, North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Libya, Burma, Turkmenistan, Iran, Belarus, Bangladesh and Venezuela. And Brazil is much closer to the latter than to the former, because this scale goes from one to 157 and Brazil has the uneasy distinction of being at the bottom third of the list. Above Brazil we find Japan, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Taiwan and Spain. Below us are Bolivia, Angola, Vietnam, Nigeria and Rwanda. Now I finally understand the slogan of the late Dom Helder Camara, who became the world icon of leftist generosity: “preferential option for poverty.” It doesn’t mean helping the poor – it just means staying poor.
The Heritage Foundation Index demonstrates with utmost clarity that the Lula administration is strangling Brazilian capitalism even as it banks on it to finance its social programs and guarantee the good image of the government among international investors.
Meanwhile, in liberal circles, there are still those who swear that the socialist option of the governing party is only a stage prop to placate the “radicals,” and that Lula is at heart a proponent of the market economy.
Obviously, neither Lula nor anyone in the PT (Workers’ Party) is socialist enough to believe in the complete suppression of private ownership of the means of production. The international Left has long desisted from this idea, one of the most idiotic ever to occur to the human mind. What the left wants now is direct control of the economy, through taxes and restrictive regulations, and even so, only enough to guarantee the main thing: domination of the public mind, the dictatorship of psychological engineering. But the Brazilian government has already exceeded this minimum. On the other hand, the prudence and circumspection with which the cultural controls it wants are slowly, gently, almost imperceptibly imposed is remarkable.
In truth, it does not have to show its hand very much in this area. The so-called “opposition parties” are surpassing it, imposing, on their own initiative, the politically correct regulations required by leftwing trends.
Depressing example: even before the PT came to power, when “anti-homophobic” policy was still only a faint suggestion in the federal sphere, the governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, took the pains to endorse state law No. 10.948 of 2001, which penalizes “offensive or discriminatory action practiced against the homosexual, bisexual or transgendered citizen.” This law has just been enforced against the citizen Juliano da Silva of the city of Pontal, who called a homosexual with whom he was arguing a “fag.” The law does not stipulate against calling a non-homosexual this, making it clear that the insult will be punished only if it has a foundation in truth. Thus, before calling someone a “fag,” you had better make sure he’s not one. Politically correct legislation is transforming the Justice Department into a travesty, catering only to the despotism of activist groups. The leftist groups that propose these bills know perfectly well that their only objective is to dismantle the system from within, creating the atmosphere of chaos and anarchy necessary for the total takeover of power by one of the factions – to the exclusion of all others – to go unnoticed, and this is exactly what is happening.
The “liberal” opposition takes the bait and winds up serving as a channel to implement these policies, either because it is fool enough to take seriously the moral pretexts adorning them or because it believes political correctness pays off in terms of votes. In the first case, it is a victim of moral naïveté, but in the second case, it lapses into political stupidity that is hardly excusable in individuals who have any experience with elections.
In Brazil, gay activism, the abortion platform and things of that kind never garner votes for anyone. They may guarantee some applause from the media, but who says the media are as influential as they give themselves credit for? At variance with the general chatter of those who fancy themselves the keepers of public opinion, all research shows the decidedly conservative preferences of the Brazilian people, who, thanks to a gross miscalculation of the parties on the “right,” are excluded from political representation. The votes of the silent majority are up for grabs for any candidate with the courage to speak on its behalf. Meanwhile, the politicians who should do this prefer to make like good little boys for the beautiful people on the left, in exchange for nothing more than minimal guarantees for the free market. It is clear that the more moral and cultural ground they give, the more minimal these guarantees become. The free market is never a law unto itself. It depends on cultural, moral and psychological conditions that, once they are annulled in favor of political correctness, provide a left wing government with all the means of bringing capitalism to its knees without the capitalists themselves daring to complain or even figuring out what is happening, namely, cultural hegemony and ultimate control over consciences, especially those of the adversary. The alacrity with which so-called liberal politicians sign on to the cultural propaganda of the left illustrates the success of the Gramscian strategy of “passive revolution” in Brazil, defined as a dialectic opposition in which “only the thesis develops all of its potentials in the struggle until the supposed representatives of the antithesis are captured”
The furious regulatory activity of the Lula government in the Heritage Foundation’s list points to something the whole world ought to know: when you give up everything in exchange for the free market, you wind up losing the free market as well.
Translated by Donald Hank (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The author, Olavo de Carvalho is a noted correspondent for several major Brazilian newspapers. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute, the Atlas Foundation and the America’s Future Foundation.
To comment or schedule an appearance, contact the author at: email@example.com
The term “liberal” in Brazil is used to mean what in America is referred to as “conservative” or “libertarian.”-Tr.