Evil or Stupid?
English Version — Text in Portuguese in Next Post
Questioned in the debate on television about censorship and a free press, the candidate for the Brazilian presidency—and, in her earlier career, terrorist—Dilma Roussef affirmed that she supported freedom of speech, but she thought it useful to maintain debates about the issue.
What!? Useful to debate freedom of speech!? Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Brazilian Constitution! So we may conclude that Roussef’s Stalinist indoctrination is still operative.
Concurrently, Brazilian President Lula’s advisor, Franklin Martins—a hack who used to work in media companies—said that, after the elections, “good surprises” would be forthcoming for the media.
Evil or Stupid I
Created by Fox News—controlled by Rupert Murdoch, Australian naturalized American, with a political posture of the far right (the correct term could well be “neo-Nazi”)—a “debate” is underway about what Fox News and its followers call a Terror Mosque, to be built in the neighborhood of the two towers of the World Trade Center which was destroyed on 11th September 2001. It doesn’t matter that the project is not a mosque but rather a cultural center which will include a place where Moslems may pray. It doesn’t matter that it’s two blocks away from the location of the towers of the World Trade Center.
In the demagogic shouts transmitted by Fox News, there are
complaints about the financing of the mosque coming from a Saudi “terrorist” organization
whose leader is not named. And the
attack on freedom of speech in the
Jon Stewart, in his inimitable The Daily Show on August 23rd, presented an exposition of this absurd situation. His “commentators” analyze the motives which drove Fox News to attack a project financed by a shareholder of News Corp. itself. The commentator wearing a shirt labeled Team Stupid argues that it was stupidity; the commentator with a Team Evil shirt alleges it was evildoing. Anyone who watches the program concludes it’s the evildoing of Fox News which has seen how stupid its viewers are.
Evil or Stupid II
Who brings a person who calls him or herself “democratic” to seek to limit freedom of speech? To distrust a free press? There are at least two sets of motives:
- He Knows He’s Right. One who has the most absolute certainty that he’s right “knows“ that his policies and opinions are correct. Logically: anyone who opposes such policies and opinions is mistaken. Obviously: the best thing is implementation of the policies of He Knows He’s Right. Therefore: since such policies are correct, it will be better to eliminate opposition to them. Conclusion: it’s better to impose censorship so that those in error cannot be heard. It’s the history of dictatorships.
- Bad Guys. One who’s in command in a society enjoys the benefits of being at the top of the pyramid. Leadership provides wealth, prestige and the good life. (If you have doubts about such benefits, ask Brazilian President Lula and his family. Or Fidel Castro and his family. Or Robert Mugabe and other African dictators and their families with whom Lula, counseled by the thought-limited Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim—and he in turn counseled brilliantly by Marco Aurélio Garcia, stereotype of the fossilized Stalinist—likes to associate.) Obviously: once control has been obtained, keep it. Conclusion: it’s better to impose censorship so opposition to the leadership cannot be heard. It’s the history of dictatorships.
History broadly shows how the They Know They’re Rights
change rapidly into Bad Guys. The evildoers
exploit the stupidity of the voters. There’s
no reason to think it’s different in
Evil or Stupid III
We know the history of free elections won by pretenders to
dictatorships. Adolf Hitler stands out
in the last century. On more recent
times, in Latin America, we have Hugo Chávez, responsible for ruining
In Brazil the urns are 100% electronic, with no system of documentation and no reliable verification. We must trust in the good will of the administrators of the electoral system that the results will not be manipulated. We have just now received still more news of the violation of the privacy of persons of the opposition party PSDB by persons of the very well computerized—like the electoral system—Federal Tax Authority. The unscrupulous and illegal acts were committed by persons tied to the currently governing Workers Party. Will anyone be surprised if Roussef wins in the first round of voting?
Evil or Stupid IV
The excellent text by Mac Margolis, published on 29th August 2010 in the daily newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, follows below.
O Estado de São Paulo — International
The New Clothing of the Authoritarian Left
by Mac Margolis
Sunday, 29 August 2010Inspired by Cuba, Latin American leaders ignore the conquests of democracy and attack the free press, under the pretext of “democratization of the means of communication.”
winner, a trip to
Abuses exist, even in the most vibrant democracies, but recent events in Latin America have been exemplary. Courts give orders even in the intimacy of the family, as in the case of the Brazilian law against slapping children (will there be plea bargaining in domestic disputes?). Governments cook the data to hide problems, as in the distortion of the Argentine inflation of the prohibition of Venezuelan newspapers to publish photographs about the surge in criminality.
And everywhere the media is obliged to defend itself against the excesses of control of society, which is censorship in the plumage of the politically correct (“democratization of information”) with the endorsement of practically all the parties of the left. For some, it’s the authoritarian rancidity inherited from the times of military dictatorships. For others, an unhappy cultural habit dating from the paternalism of colonial times. The worst cases sprout from the most unstable flank of the region — from the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and his Bolivarian Alliance, for which only the right of applause is free. But the authoritarian reflex is not the privilege only of 21st century socialism. It prospers wherever the ruler currently entrusted with power imagines himself to be its owner and the sheriff confuses his pistol with the law. The practice seems to be tailored for the folk dance of the Brazilian political campaign, if the political folk dance had not also been prohibited last week as well.
already worrisome that the excesses of power exist. What’s really surprising is the official and
party condescension for the neighbors which the acts of aggressions provoke. At heart, societies’ control of the media
entrusts the freedom of speech, bedrock clause of republican existence, to
political groupings, to corporations and to non-governmental organizations
which no one elected. Since they dared
to criticize the heavy taxation imposed on agricultural exports by the
with the exception of Colombia and Chile, labeled neoliberal and puppets of the
gringos, few Latin American voices have been raised against fencing in of the
press. The endorsement of societal
patrol of the media was unanimous in the last Forum of São Paulo, the highest
level grouping of leftist parties and movements in Latin America which met in
Explicit or not, a non-aggression pact seems to govern the diplomacy of the countries of Latin America. This it’s not fashionable to call attention to violations of human rights, to censorship or to persecution of political opposition in sister nations. It’s better to offer the “conciliatory nature of the Brazilian people” rather than “shaking fingers in front of others noses”, as the Brazilian foreign minister, Celso Amorim, wrote recently. “It’s bad strategy to isolate someone you want to convince or dissuade.”
to be seen if the results of this conciliatory DNA will be positive. The Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos,
dismissed the proposal of the Brazilian government to mediate the dispute
Cuban Revolution may have entered into a fatal crisis, but its appeal is lasting. If for a good part of the world ‘Che’ Guevara
became a T-shirt and Fidel Castro a Gray ghost, the pair continue sacred in
many countries in the
who feel perplexed by this silent consent as to the reductions freedom, the new
book by the Argentine political scientist Claudia Hilb is a find.