the radical evil

Image_Elyeser Szturm


In pursuit of the Ku Klux Klan that inspires him, Bolsonaro propagates what Immanuel Kant calls “radical evil”, the one that is rooted in those who practice it. Bolsonaro is pure evil

Hannah Arendt made a great contribution to the lights of knowledge. Not because she accurately addressed the origins of evil, but she understood well and offered a great insight into how evil reproduces itself.

In the search for an explanation of how evil originates, the proposed theoretical solution confused ideologies and equalized very different political systems, proposed to encompass under the concept of totalitarianism, regimes completely different from each other, such as Nazism and Stalinism. whose differences are not limited to the idea of ​​the total State, so much to the taste of the cold war in progress in the post-war period and the economic ideology emerging at the time, but which distinguish, fundamentally, by their metaphysics, their becoming. Arendt contributes decisively to bringing to the present day the human sciences and politics the explanation of how evil multiplies. He offered the idea that evil is banal and can be exercised by anyone, as evidenced by the testimonies of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi tried in Jerusalem, in April 1961, for crimes against humanity. According to the version presented in the biopic, “Hannah Arendt”, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, in 2012, Hannah Arendt would have said that she expected to see a monster, but what would she have found a mediocre bureaucrat concerned only with following orders.

The search for the exact boundary between the responsibilities of the individual and society and between the individual and the State goes back to the fields of investigation of philosophy, political science, sociology and psychology, since time immemorial, with regard to questions about the humanity and culture.

Having Arendt attribute evil to a mediocre man, to being common, we cannot help but, critically, establish that only the enormity of the Holocaust crime would allow so many common people to adhere to evil, as a way of living. We are thus faced with the central ethical issue of the fact that responsibility is attributed to each of the commons or is inherent in a system that propagates evil as an ideology. The question is therefore not whether Eichmann was evil, but why so many eichmanns begin to trivialize it.

Anyone who saw images of two individuals, a woman and a man, dressed in the cloak and sword of a homeland they created, upset, verbally attacking nurses and health workers who demonstrated last May 1st, in Brasilia[I], was baffled by those ordinary people exercising hatred. Those who relate this episode to the previous fact that the President of the Republic disdained preventable death are even more impacted.[ii]. It is the strength of the new organic right in the country, of a neo-fascist character, and its government that give legitimacy for such nonsense to present itself, in the name of ideological purity, without moral or ethical obstructions.

Scientific theories of the social sciences allow analyses, based on evidence and solid methodology, that come to explain the social phenomenon that ended up taking this new right, more precisely a certain individual who professes hatred as a plan of action, to the government.

What are the forces, classes and fractions and with what interests and determinations? In what world and national framework? How did the capital accumulation crisis of neoliberalism affect? What is the role of international interests? How did the political activism of the high judicial and military bureaucracies in its favor take place? Is there a “Brazilian Bonapartism” going on? What are the motivations and interests of the communications oligopoly? All rational variables will be explained and all research problems answered, just give it time.

Even so, with the most solid scientific explanations available, I imagine that we will be immersed in the same perplexity that we face when we study, analyze, read and watch Nazism and its horrors When we become aware of the trials, testimonies and evidence of the greatest horror of all time. Facts and phenomena so studied, as for studying.

And even involved in disbelief, paralyzed by that brief feeling that all of social science cannot explain such evil and such iniquity, it is necessary to overcome these feelings and understand, analyze, interpret, discover the reasons why Brazil plunged into a tragic world proposed by this neoliberal version of fascism. Bolsonaro is a psychopath, an apologist for torture and abuse. He despises the human condition, abhors the idea of ​​being equal, hates the other, thinks he needs to destroy in order to build himself up.

What is impressive is that we can conclude that everyone, or at least a large portion of its voters and non-voters, knew and, despite everything, just like what happened in Germany under Hitler, he was voted, transformed into a leader and won the elections. It is objectively the will of the people, duly constructed, played against the rights of that same people.

Evil makes us uncomfortable inside because, in our Psyche, we don't accept it morally but we want it. This desire, in some people subjected to certain circumstances, becomes unassailable, unstoppable. Evil becomes a tragedy, however, when it becomes banal and by being trivialized it becomes method, politics, ideology, morals and belief, ceasing to be latent to emerge in each one or in the projection of each one, seeking, then , recognition, security and legitimacy in the community of equals. On a quest for the Ku Klux Klan that inspires you.

Bolsonaro propagates what Immanuel Kant calls “radical evil”, the one that is rooted in those who practice it. Bolsonaro is pure evil. Evil devoid of constraints is free, trivialized and socialized evil. Evil as a specific moral that subordinates everything to the greater mission. That is why it is the most perverse evil, the most obscure that can be known. The empowerment of this raison d'être, under the form of government and under the form of a party, gives the manifest dimension of the transformation of the banality of evil into politics.

*Jorge Branco He is a sociologist and a doctoral candidate in Political Science at UFRGS.

[I] see news here.

[ii] see the news here.

See this link for all articles


  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Return to the path of hopelate afternoon 21/06/2024 By JUAREZ GUIMARÃES & MARILANE TEIXEIRA: Five initiatives that can allow the Brazilian left and center-left to resume dialogue with the majority hope of Brazilians
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones
  • Why are we on strike?statue 50g 20/06/2024 By SERGIO STOCO: We have reached a situation of shortage of federal educational institutions
  • Theological manual of neoliberal neo-PentecostalismJesus saves 22/06/2024 By LEONARDO SACRAMENTO: Theology has become coaching or encouraging disputes between workers in the world of work
  • The collapse of Zionismfree palestine 80 23/06/2024 By ILAN PAPPÉ: Whether people welcome the idea or fear it, Israel's collapse has become predictable. This possibility should inform the long-term conversation about the future of the region