lie hypocrites

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By FLAVIO AGUIAR*

The aura of cowardice and lies: the fascination of the extreme right

Once a friend, a German, alerted me to an essential characteristic of the behavior of the Nazis who, under the pretext of aggrandizing it, destroyed the nation: where others hesitated, they did not even stop to think. One of the characters of the German poet and essayist exiled in Paris in the 10th century said that wherever books are burned, people end up burning. The Nazis didn't hesitate to do both. On the night of May 1933, XNUMX, gigantic bonfires blazed across Germany, burning millions of books.

In the most famous of them, on what is now Bebelplatz, in Berlin, in front of the Humboldt University, the bonfire was opened by the director of the neighboring Faculty of Law, who personally brought an armful of books from his library to throw it into the flames. In 1942, in a mansion on the shores of Lake Wannsee, on the outskirts of Berlin, the Conference that bears that name was held. It was chaired by the sinister general Reinhard Heydrich who, incidentally, would end up being killed by a guerrilla commando in what was then Czechoslovakia. Its secretary was the dedicated and tireless Adolf Eichmann, who was later tried and executed in Israel. According to the minutes drawn up, no one hesitated. They killed and reduced to ashes millions of Jews, Roma and Sintis, and other “inferior” beings with the same decision with which they burned millions of books, destroying their spirit and closing the cycle predicted by Heinrich Heine.

Beneath the apparent fearlessness with which the Nazis faced everyday life – more than battles – what lay was the blanket of cowardice: their anger, their indifference, their killing was directed at the “inferior”, the “small”, the “weak”. ”, to the “weak”, to the “weak”. Of course: they had the terrors of the Gestapo and the SS at their disposal; but they called on their populace to vent their frustrations and resentments on those who could not resist, much less fight back. Inferior races were included there in the same way that these apparently helpless and defenseless objects were added: books, the undesirable accumulated knowledge.

Cowardice became a central role in Nazi scenography: it was necessary to exercise it; more, display it; even more, to proclaim it as the proper and courageous behavior, because it would demonstrate the “superiority” of its “lord”, superiority confirmed because this (or this) lived with a higher order of morality than the common one, a morality exacerbated by the narcissism of those who dictate their own rules, stepping on others. Carl Schmitt synthesized all of this in his theses on the Nazi super judge who theologically dictates his own laws for the legal universe, as if God were. This reminds us of… well, both the Republic of Galeão (there were no judges there, but self-appointed soldiers) and the current Republic of Curitiba.

There is a complicated mental click there, causing a spiritual and emotional lapse in which cowardice is transfigured into courage, pettiness into fearlessness, pusillanimity towards the most powerful into cruelty towards the victims of this gesture (in the theatrical, Brechtian sense) of self and monocratic power. That is, the aura of cowardice exercised, displayed and proclaimed needs the complementary aura of lies to be effective. This type of political coward needs to lie, he depends on the lie, and for this reason it becomes, beyond a stratagem, into a way of life. Once plunged into it, as in a whirlpool, all scruples are drowned. But they are reborn, bringing the coryphaeus of this leap into a new type of anonymity and anomie, in which the original identity is lost and another triumphant emerges, the open path of hypocritical but savior moralism.

A central aspect of the spirit to play this identity-changing role is collective contagion. As a group, the performers from this undertaking they feel stronger, and tend, mirroring the assent of others, to become more daring in assuming the willingness to eliminate common ethical obstacles, replacing them with the release of the feeling of belonging to a superior cream of personalities, to whom everything is permitted.

Let us take some national examples for examination. Initially, I think of two: the famous meeting of December 13, 1968, recorded and with final minutes, in which the government of Marechal Costa e Silva decided to proclaim Institutional Act n. 5, closing the National Congress, among other very serious consequences; and the no less famous meeting of the government of Jair Bolsonaro, on April 22 of this year, with its string of profanity, mocking and intemperate attitudes. Apparently, the two meetings are very different. In the first, absolute respect for protocol and decorum reigns, such as the rickshaws of “Mister Minister” here and “Your Excellency” there; in the second, mockery, slang, impudence, contempt for protocol and decorum prevail.

However, there is a curious analogy of attitudes between the two. In 1968, for example, capitalizing on the collective sentiment, the then Minister of Labor, Jarbas Passarinho, brazenly says that it is necessary to throw scruples to hell and install a dictatorship, as if we were not experiencing one. So he lies. In 2020, almost everyone present, in a kind of rehearsed jester, preach or accept the arrest of dissenters and dissidents, even those allocated in egregious institutions, such as the Federal Supreme Court; they want to install the exception, as if we no longer live in it, due to the mere existence of the government they are part of.

They also lie. In 2020, with an exemplary poker face, Minister Salles says that it is necessary to seize the occasion and “pass the cattle” of the abusive deregulation of environmental protection. In 1968, with more filigree, the Minister of Finance, Delfim Netto, defended that the opportunity be taken to introduce substantial modifications in the legislation, giving the president powers to change the Constitution, in defense of his completely conservative program; “pass the cattle” is not advocated, but simply “the pen”. In both, the aura of lies reigns shamelessly: everyone knows that they do not speak the truth, and they take pleasure in showing off their impudence, with greater or lesser or no observance of decorum.

To complete the parallel, in both there is the discordant modesty. In the first, it is vice-president Pedro Aleixo, who says he trusts those present regarding the application of the arbitrariness that is proclaimed, but that he distrusts the corner guard; in the second, Lava Jato's Templar knight, former judge Sérgio Moro, who will go into "exile" from the government he helped create in exchange for the ministerial favor that, in the end, turned out badly for him, shot that backfired. Lies, lies, lies... although far be it from me to compare the intellectual personality of Pedro Aleixo with the provincial indigence of Moro.

Lava Jato is another example of this chorus of intensified impunity. It can be seen, from the recordings revealed in Vaza-Jato, how much of a “mirrored stimulus” prevailed between that bunch of prosecutors and Judge Moro in their persecutory eagerness against people who were at their mercy, including ex-president Lula, treated with the utmost care. disrespect, which reveals how much resentment reigned in that judicial Cova do Caco.

This operation that transfigures personalities and attitudes finds its apex in the change from cowardice to courage. To impose complete disregard for all norms of behavior, and thus assert their superiority, the best target for those who perpetrate it is the defenseless; it is a question of oppressing the already oppressed even more, of tormenting the already tormented even more. So it was with Jews and other “inferiors” in the European past; so it is today in the behavior of neo-Nazis towards refugees and immigrants. In Brazil, this is the case with regard to Indians, quilombolas, LGBTIs, women, the elderly, children, et al.

The greatest example of this propensity appeared in the case of the abortion of a 10-year-old girl, raped by a family member. To assert herself before her own, since she was weakened by the anklet that had been imposed on her, the fascist pseudonym impostor disclosed the girl's name, attracting the wrath of pseudomoralists, hypocrites of the lie "elevated" to the category of "superior truth". . And off they went and they tormented the already tormented girl at the door of the hospital where she would have the abortion provided for by law. This is how all the little fascists behave who insult office-boys, inspectors and anyone else who challenges the arrogance of their portfolios.

The biggest problem with all this is that after putting on the cap, the person who put it on has the greatest difficulty taking it off. He often prefers to die suffocated by her than admit that he made a mistake and got lost along the way.

* Flavio Aguiar is a writer, retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP and author, among other books, of Chronicles of the World Upside Down (Boitempo).

 

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