Fake freedom and the Marquis de Sade

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

The Liberty fake, sadistic freedom, which in essence is the denial of all freedom, is leading Brazil to total shipwreck

“Merchants of chaos”. This is how the newspaper editorial The State of S. Paul on May 15th qualified those who spread lies about the floods in Rio Grande do Sul. The text is to the point: “Bolsonaristas are spreading misinformation because, enemies of democracy that they are, they are interested in undermining the ability of citizens to trust each other. others." Precise words. Just.

The situation is alarming, not only because of the waters that decimate entire cities, but also because of the industrialized and intentional spread of disorientation. With citizenship submerged, the perversion of anti-democratic fanaticism pours through the sewers. There are inconceivable messages circulating massively. Some claim that there is no point in making donations because the federal government is blocking trucks heading to Rio Grande do Sul. False. Others maintain that the army and firefighters deny help to the homeless. Intentional invention. The examples of bad faith are widespread, toxic, and, although they are unmasked all the time, they leave traces of moral and civic devastation.

Large-scale production of more than this fake news it is the work of underground and underwater organizations that operate far from daylight and consume rivers of infected money. They are super-industrial plants that generate fallacies in spades and never appear publicly – they operate in the underworld, clandestinely. More than gloomy and elusive, they are invisible plants. More than abject, they are effective. They massively supply the multitudes of useless idiots who work for free, night and day, to spread all the asphyxiating nonsense through (anti)social networks.

If the great false organizations operate in the shadows, the alienated and alienating workers who work for them like slaves show their smiling faces. They're Zap's uncles and aunts, you know them. When questioned by the common sense of their condominium neighbor, they protect themselves with the excuse that they are simply exercising their “freedom of expression”. They are wrong about everything, including this. They're mostly wrong about that.

Firstly, the camouflaged agencies from which they receive the rubbish they distribute do not have the right to freedom of expression, nor could they. Freedom of expression is a right of the human person, not of legal entities or criminal organizations. The State, companies and political parties do not have freedom of expression, as they are not people. Freedom of expression is a human right, a right of flesh and blood people, not an economic or corporate license.

Therefore, when one of these illegal groups or one of these big tech promote falsehoods that harm the public health and physical integrity of millions of human beings, it is not freedom of expression we are talking about, but an unacceptable abuse of economic power. The purpose of this type of abuse is to propagate chaos and establish an environment in which “no one believes in anything anymore”, as Hannah Arendt summarized in a famous interview. In short, let us no longer accept calling “freedom of expression” what is nothing more than a destructive abuse of economic power.

That said, let's now talk about the freedom of people, those useless idiots who take pleasure in the task of disseminating fraudulent news in exchange for nothing - or, better said, in exchange for the imaginary pleasure of looking in the mirror and calling themselves " patriots.” The volunteers of obscurantism, of course, have the right to utter nonsense in bad taste. Yes, they are free to pronounce the unpronounceable. They just don't have the right to pursue crimes.

Here comes the most embarrassing point. They don't know how to distinguish one thing from another. The idea they carry of freedom is a non-idea: they conceive freedom as a kind of mouth, an open gate at the borders of the body to give vent to visceral impulses, despite the conventions and basic norms of civilized coexistence. Freedom would be, finally, the triumph of the animal over the human. It’s as if the guy said “I am free to oppress you and exercise my essential stupidity against you”.

And what is the origin of this instinctual conception of freedom? Here I follow the suggestion of psychoanalyst Ricardo Goldenberg. In a brief essay, “From cynicism to shamelessness” (in the book The malaise in culture revisited, organized by Lucia Santaella, published by Estação das Letras e Cores), Ricardo Goldenberg locates in the Marquês de Sade (1740-1814) the fantasy that “individual freedom” would include a supposed “right” to “enjoy others without any hindrance” (“enjoying”, here, is synonymous with abusing).

In Sade, the free subject is the one who manages to combine the worst vice of the aristocracy (disposing of the body of others as they dispose of the land) with the worst vice of the bourgeoisie (exploiting the energy of others to accumulate money and pleasure). In short, the free man is amoral, murderer, pedophile, rapist and dictator. In the midst of such a flood of lies, we can add: and fascist. The Liberty fake, sadistic freedom, which in essence is the denial of all freedom, is leading Brazil to total shipwreck.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Uncertainty, an essay: how we think about the idea that disorients us (and orients the digital world) (authentic). [https://amzn.to/3SytDKl]

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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