Tolerance, yes. Amnesty, no

Image: Akın Akdağ


What tolerance does the extreme right now demand, wrapped in symbols that it has thrown away?

John Locke, in letter on tolerance (1689), brought to light a libel aimed at the separation of the State and the Church, based on the deliberate abstention on the part of the metaphorical Leviathan from enacting laws inspired by religious precepts. The objective was not to discriminate against any particular belief and, on the contrary, to embrace them all. At Encyclopedia or rational dictionary of sciences, arts and crafts (1751), orchestrated by Diderot and D'Alembert, among the 298 entries, the one about “tolerance” reads that “we are limited by errors and passions, despite our great intelligence”. The patience we need with others is equivalent to the patience we crave with our own limitations. Without tolerance “there would be nothing but disturbances and dissensions on Earth.” It would be chaos.

The record dates back to the reign of Louis XV, in France, a time when secret societies plotted revolutions. It was written in the Ancien Régime, with the sky full of dense clouds. “No one has the right to give their reason as a rule, nor to intend to subject others to their opinions. Demanding that I believe based on your judgments would be the same as demanding that I see with your eyes”, notes the author of the entry, Romilly. Voltaire would sign the statement attributed to him. “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it to the death.” In addition, as long as it does not trigger civilizational setbacks – racism and sexism. Or foment terrorist conspiracies that restrict public freedoms with the leash of fear.

For the Enlightenment, the important thing was to demonstrate that “intolerance” is beyond all irrational: (a) it is in contradiction with the call for unity to defend noble causes, such as the environment and peace, today; (b) goes against common sense that considers tolerance to be virtuous because it allows arguments to be confronted to reach a solution and; (c) destroys discordant ideas by force, under dictatorship, under torture, and not by reasoning with demonstrations about deviations from formal logic. For Marilena Chauí, “intolerance is an error born of error”, like Israel’s lethal bombings in Gaza.

The good intentions

John Stuart Mill, in About a liberdade (1859), returned to the subject: “Only by the clash or collision of adverse opinions does a portion of truth have a chance of being produced.” The utilitarian motto “always act in a way that produces the greatest amount of well-being” should guide political actions, which would favor the establishment. For the rising bourgeoisie, tolerance had a mercantile bias. Guarantee the free market against State restrictions and impositions of faith in business, evidence of intolerance. Over time, utilitarianism gave way to hyper-individualism. “Society does not exist, what exists are individuals and families”, in the phrase of Margaret Thatcher. The State has lost its sense of community.

The happiness of the greatest number of people sank with neoliberalism. In theory, there was a weak tendency towards egalitarianism; in concrete reality, encouragement of social inequalities. A Declaration of Principles on Tolerance (1995), adopted by UNESCO member countries, considers that tolerance is not indulgence or indifference. It is appreciation and respect for the diversity of cultures, forms of expression and human ways. It is harmony in difference. The Yanomami and the Palestinians are surviving witnesses, at the current stage, many leagues away from the letter of good intentions.

Intolerant, instrumentalized attitudes lead to the “biopolitics” of governments and corporations that – with the panopticon of drones or algorithms – control life. War is the epitome of sectarianism. This is not about opposing morality to genocide. The issue is of a political nature, strict sense. The philosophical-behavioral assumption for appeasing conflicts lies in the conversion of humanity into a point of departure and arrival, with the rule of human rights and the secularity of the State. Such points are irreconcilable with the old theocracies and, likewise, with the new autocracies.

Decipher the riddle

In the former absolutist regime (France) or in the constitutional monarchical regime (United Kingdom), one can understand the support for tolerance in socio-political relations for the development of productive forces, from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century, and the experience of the curtailment of freedoms in the XX, under McCarthyism or Stalinism. In the democratic rule of law, it is difficult to justify complaints of intolerance from the STF (Federal Supreme Court), TSE (Superior Electoral Court), Coaf (Financial Activities Control Council), Ibama (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources), National Weapons System and Labor Superintendence, in the XNUMXst century. Underlying the criticism is the denial of regulations on private initiative.

On the defensive, zombies pretend to be victims; on the offensive, hallucinated, they cry for military intervention. Investigating the reasons for the division of feelings and opinions is crucial to deciphering the enigma of hatred and resentment. To this end, the Machiavellian division between the “big ones”, who want to dominate, and the “small ones” who do not want to be oppressed and dominated, continues with heuristic validity. This dialectic of contradictory desires intertwines our existence in society. Videos bullying.

In the first group are the neofascists, which Paulo Arantes calls “extreme right” to distinguish it from the fascism of past decades; The second group includes democrats and socialists who found relief in Lula da Silva's third electoral success, when progressives defeated the use of the state apparatus and the treasury. The frustrated coup expressed the pride of the big guys (agribusiness, rentiers, retail stores). The prompt response of hope reaffirmed the ideals of victory for the kids (urban and rural workers, peripheral people with meager minimum wages). The historical soil of class struggle decodes the hidden scenarios of crude totalitarian domination. Go retro, Satana.

The elite in pantomime

O impeachment of Dilma Rousseff replaced the ballot box program with legislation to the satisfaction of the parasitic classes that hold public debt securities or benefits from the model remaining from the colonial period (latifundia, monoculture and export of commodities). In the ballast, the ineligible party docks at the Palácio do Planalto, the country slips into the State of exception and keeps the leader in the polls, imprisoned, with the farce of lawfare, announced early. One mistake led others to foolishness. The scum who consider themselves “elite” applauded the pantomime. Given their identity with the subordinates, “Lula and Dilma were crucified not for what they are, but for what they cannot be”, emphasizes Reginaldo Moraes.

The labor and social security reforms, the public spending ceiling, the outsourcing law, the autonomous Central Bank, the precariousness of work, fiscal adjustments, deindustrialization and privatizations were supported by the hegemonic media, by parliamentarians uncommitted to the future, by the Judiciary and the Armed Forces. The genocide benefited from the illegitimate election and anti-PTism. Regarding wealth and surpluses, in the hands of the State, generous doses of benefits reached the enemies of the Republic: the indigenous ruling classes and international mega-companies. The anti-homeland virality denied nothing to the predators, neither Eletrobras nor the pre-salt.

What tolerance does the extreme right now demand, wrapped in symbols that it has thrown away? Das fake news robotics, on social networks? From loosening controls, to “pass the herd”? The endorsement of violence against popular sovereignty and the headquarters of republican powers, in Brasília? Of forgetting every piece of evidence of corruption in ministerial areas over the four years? From the pardon for the theft of million-dollar Saudi jewelry, for the benefit of family upstart? All of this, plus the 700 deaths, appears on the record associated with the “individual freedom” of the transgressors who surfed the enormous wave of neoliberal accumulation, through plunder. As in Bertolt Brecht's poem: “What did not surrender / Was slaughtered. / What was shot down / Did not surrender.” – Marielle, Bruno, present.

The curtains come down

The condescension that the biltres seek is a passport to impunity. A cynical insult to the dignity and resilience demonstrated by working people, in cities, fields and forests. The shameless cowardice that came out of the sewer and earned the despicable title of pariah on the planet, aspires for the bells to toll for perversities, from serial killer. “They want to take me out of politics”, grunts the nameless man. Obviously, and incarcerate in the cage; instead of taking them to the end of the beach, as the civil-military scoundrels did to true patriots in the past.

– Tolerance, yes. Amnesty, no.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was the state secretary of culture in Rio Grande do Sul during the Olívio Dutra government..

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