Once, in a university debate on the future of Brazil that I mediated at a university in São Paulo, bored by a long and unnecessary debate conducted by academics who seemed to live in a literary utopia inaccessible to my middle-class mind, one of the debaters questioned if there was something that had made me almost give up on Brazil. He told the audience and the noble debaters: the bikers who remove the mufflers from the exhausts in the bizarre belief that this way their bikes will be more powerful. I laughed, they all laughed, thinking I was kidding.
Despite the depth of truth that cut off my comment — it really is disheartening to have to endure the bursts of a motorcycle exhaust just so the rider have the illusory delight of potency — there was obviously a subliminal mockery in my comment aimed at the socially perfect and cosmically just little worlds that aspired to the debaters’ ideas. If there’s something I really can’t stand, it’s fiction being preached as truth, demanding social seriousness, scientific responses and magnanimous attentions. I don’t have time for the make-believe of Karl Marx and Judith Butler.
By reading the “Letter for Democracy”, written by old and well-known advocates of authoritarianism, as well as current endorsers of dictatorships, I find myself under the same dilemma as years ago in that debate, that is, I am listening to doctors, influential thinkers and artistic magnanimities debating about a cosmetically imagined little world. In this parallel reality, there is an ongoing fascist uprising by Bolsonaro, an imminent and haunting threat to the democracy posed by the president. I, who remain oblivious to the psolist directories, bankers’ dinners and barbecues of supermacho supporters of Bolsonaro, accompany all this nonsense with a mixture of laughter and derision.
We have reached the threshold of rational indecency. We are poking fun at Brazil’s political reality pure and simple, adopting a clearly untrue, arguably silly narrative. Brazil is not at risk of a fascist start, Bolsonaro is not a Nazi, we are not under an imminent coup from the executive. Stop that ‘it’s’ ugly! This is ideological discourse of the most mequetrefes. And for those who like foundations, leafy footnotes and science to rub in the faces of others, there is no serious, de-ideologized literature on this, no evidence, not even a glimmer, that we are close to a coup that will undermine national democracy. At least not coming from Bolsonaro…
All this makes me angry for the simple fact that, after saying such obvious truths, like an ordinary man on the riverbank trying to prove to a drunk that the water is indeed wet, I will inevitably be called a bolsonarista. We are trampling on the most elemental reality in order to sustain narratives, we are tearing our clothes for no reason. If facts matter, then it is on them that we must base our rational choices, the main problem of sustaining, feeding and applauding an urgent letter that defends an illusion, is to approve authoritarian solutions to remedy a lie.
The so-called traditional scientific socialism, in its most distant advent in the 19th century, sustained an attachment to reality as a sociological basis, although in the course of its theorization it dispensed with the evidence of reality that contradicted their conclusions. Marx saw real inequality, and on it he built his theory: post-industrialization inequality was a fact, he was on real grounds when he protested intellectually. Marx’s mistakes came from his means and conclusions, not from the problematic he denounced.
The stupid, corporate and university leftism that we now see sign the infamous letter already starts from illusory assumptions. What should be clear — and this is what my text is for — is that this note from the Brazilian left is not about an error of method or conclusions, but, from the beginning, pure and simple, of ideological schizophrenia and moral myopia. .
All this becomes even more insane when we realize that many of the signatories, including former President Lula, are self-confessed admirers of dictatorships and dictators. Few times, despite the constant oddities that do not let our politics marinate in boredom, do we witness so much theatrical impudence and shame of others. It takes a high pedigree of silliness to reach such a level of commiseration and self-deception.
In the end, the biker who suppresses his motorcycle’s exhaust muffler, as well as the signer of the Charter for Democracy , they are mistaken on the same level, they frantically try to convince themselves of a reality that does not exist, they seek to silence in the delirious noise the truth that is self-imposed on everyone who has the least sanity and rationality. They ask for the sacrifice of the eyes and intelligence of the nation in exchange for pathetic ideas and promises.