Hate and violence: the perverse legacy of Bolsonarism

Clara Figueiredo, Série_ Quarantine Records, Av. about maia, São Paulo, 2020.
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By LEONARDO BOFF*

The worst and most perverse legacy left by the elusive president and thief of official gifts was that of stoking hatred and violence in social relations.

Who governed us for four years was not so much a president but a cappo with his family, whose main characteristic, using social networks, foul language, rude behavior, lying as a method, the desire to destroy biographies, the conscious distortion of reality, irony and inhuman satisfaction over President Lula's illness and President Dilma, the conscious omission in dealing with the coronavirus that sacrificed at least 300 thousand people, the consented genocide of the Yanomami, the practically unlimited acquisition of lethal weapons, the spread of hatred and violence, generated what we have seen lately: someone invades a day care center and murders four innocent children and leaves others injured.

There are other cases of students who stabbed a teacher and a student, another who kills a classmate, and many other crimes of this nature committed in schools, not to mention police violence on the outskirts of cities where young black people and other poor people are slaughtered with impunity. People kill themselves for futile reasons such as fighting over a piece of pizza.

The worst and most perverse legacy left by the fleeing president and thief of official gifts, donated by authorities from other states, in addition to countless other political crimes, was this: stoking hatred and rampant violence in social relations.

Neither crying nor just lamenting, but trying to understand: where does the barbaric violence that caused so many victims in our country come from? Let's look a little at history: Alfred Weber, Max Weber's brother, in his summary of universal history, tells us that of the 3.400 years of documented history, 3.166 were of war. The remaining 234 years were certainly not one of peace, but of truce and preparation for another war. The wars of the last century, in all, killed 200 million people. As can be seen, violence and its derivatives are rooted in our history. It raises a question, expressed in the exchange of letters between Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud on July 30, 1932.

Einstein asks the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud: “is there a way to free human beings from the fatality of war…is it possible to make human beings more capable of resisting the psychosis of hatred and destruction?”. Freud realistically responds: “There is no hope of being able to directly suppress the aggressiveness of human beings. However, indirect routes can be followed, reinforcing the Eros (principle of life) vs. Thanatos (principle of death). Everything that gives rise to affective bonds between human beings acts against war. Everything that civilizes human beings works against war.”

Culture, religion, philosophy, ethics and art have always been expedient to curb or sublimate the death impulse. But they proved insufficient. By this we understand Freud's resigned response to Einstein: "Famished, we think of the mill that grinds so slowly that we may die of hunger before receiving the flour".

In the truth of things, the wise men of humanity made us understand that we are ambiguous beings. In the religious dialect, Saint Augustine said: “we are both Adam and Christ at the same time”. Luther was saying nothing else when he said: “we are both righteous and sinners”. In current times, it was a 103-year-old wise man, Edgar Morin, who continually reminds us: it belongs to the human condition, to be at the same time sapiens e demens. This is not a creation defect, but our constitution as humans. In other words, we are beings that carry the dimension of love and hate, light and shadow, the life drive and the death drive, the symbolic (which unites) and the diabolic (which disunites). We are the dialectical unity of these contradictions.

The base option we take, whether love, light, life, or the symbolic, is the foundation of our humanitarian ethics. If we assume the opposite, we establish inhuman and cruel ethics. Although both poles coexist and we cannot eliminate or repress them, it is the centrality we give to one of these polarizations that defines our path in life, vital or lethal, and our ethical behavior.

If what we say is true, then it is important to be realistic and sincere and recognize that the violence that nestles within us, erupted in the sinister figure of the previous president. He got followers to take out the dimension of hatred that was in them and gave it full rein. He used every possible way, from slander, lies, fake news, verbal violence through various digital media, direct violence, threatening people with death and actually killing them.

The “too human” human, that is to say, the dark and diabolical portion gained visibility and exercise with impunity under the Bolsonarist regime and with its supporters.

The most serious aspect of Bolsonarism and its cappo it means having miseducated young people, promoting bad language, aggressive behavior, prejudice against the most vulnerable, the poor, black people, quilombolas, indigenous peoples, women, victims of countless feminicides and people of another sexual orientation. All of these were defamed, persecuted, raped and not a few murdered, especially the latter.

This story of horrors lived through for four years is enough. But the people realized that this is not the way to live and live together. They elected, for the third time, someone, a representative of the social slave quarters: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His government is faced with an enormous task: rebuilding a devastated nation in body and spirit. The roots of this inhumanism are still there and will always be, because they are part of our condition. But we keep them under control. The people and the nation opted for the light against the shadow, for love against hate, for the symbolic against the diabolical.

We must always remain vigilant, so that the demons (which together with the angels) that inhabit us, flood the conscience of Bolsonarists and systematically destroy what generations and generations have built with sweat and blood. They will not pass. As other criminal heads of state and enemies of life did not pass.

*Leonardo Boff, He is a theologian, philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of Brazil: conclude the refoundation or prolong the dependency? (Vozes).


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