February 18, 2011
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the Brazilian philosopher, and president of the Inter-American Institute, Olavo de Carvalho. During the conversation I suggested that something is wrong with our thinking today; that we don’t worship in the same way, or obey the rules in the same way, or observe common courtesy as we once did. “To someone like me,” he began, “who visited this country in the 1980s, and came back to live here in 2005, the changes that the American mind has undergone in recent decades are really shocking.”
Carvalho recommended that I read Tamar Frankel’s book, Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at the Crossroad, which, he explained, “describes the alarming decline of moral standards in the American business world….” According to Frankel’s book, the erosion of trust and honesty has to do with a rising acceptance and justification of fraudulent practices. “What has changed,” she writes, “is the attitude towards dishonesty and breach of trust. Today, there is a greater acceptance and more justification of dishonesty.” How did this come about? With the removal of certain barriers to fraud, temptation has increased.
Carvalho has his own insights into the causes of moral and intellectual deterioration in America: “One of the factors that has brought about this change, with its highly corrosive consequences in the daily lives of Americans, was the fashionable ‘neo-liberalism,’ which saw the business world as a self-regulatory power, able to override morality, religion, and culture and to dictate standards of conduct based on the supposedly miraculous power of market laws. What made the greatness of America was not just the free market economy, but a synthesis of this with Christian morals and with a culture that included love of country and family. Separated from these regulating forces, the capitalist economy becomes an engine of self-destruction, which is exactly what is happening today.”
Undoubtedly, there is truth in the assertion that traditional American society has collapsed, being replaced by “the open society,” so named by George Soros and Karl Popper. According to Carvalho, the open society defines itself as “not recognizing any transcendent values and by leaving everything at the mercy of economic conveniences – conveniences that are something alleged even to justify the very demolition of the free market and its replacement by the welfare state, based upon taxation and debt.” In other words, Carvalho is saying that the free market doesn’t make men good. It does not train them to be moral. It does not bother to defend itself against socialism. Those elements in society that previously instilled moral values are no longer as effective, if they are effective at all.
It is Carvalho’s view that the “open society” concept has been used by the nation’s enemies to destroy “everything that is good and great in this country.” He then pointed to the Russian geopolitical thinker, Alexander Dugin, and “the emerging Russian-Chinese scheme….” Using a subtle propaganda, noted Carvalho, the “open society” becomes a pretext for fostering widespread global hatred against the United States. For the “open society” produces moral degradation that is subsequently blamed on the American way of life, which supposedly demonstrates the special wickedness and decadence of the American people. This leads directly to a discussion of the evils of American cultural imperialism — the rallying cry of Russian and Chinese strategists whose goal is the elimination of the United States as a world power. The effectiveness of this approach should not be underestimated. As Carvalho explained, “The Russian-Chinese influence has been growing more and more in Latin America. The U.S. Government has missed this because it still sees Russia and China as allies, in spite of the fact that they are the two largest weapons suppliers to terrorism around the world. One must remember that the Putin government’s foreign policy is today guided by the so-called ‘Eurasian’ strategy, invented by Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, who proposes that Russia, China, and Islam ally with all the anti-American forces in Western Europe, Africa and Latin America, for the purpose of laying final siege to the United States. This strategy already has strong military support in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a kind of eastern version of NATO, which brings together Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.”
I asked Carvalho about recent reports of a deal between Islamic Iran and communist Venezuela to build a strategic missile base aimed at the United States. I asked if the Marxists of South America were allied with al Qaeda and Tehran. “Yes, they are,” he replied. “They are also allied with the ETA, which is a Basque terrorist organization. There are lots of agents of these organizations in Hugo Chavez’s entourage. This fact is not unknown to many Latin American governments, but most of them are committed to remaining silent about it because of the agreements they signed as members of the Sao Paulo Forum, the spearhead of the communist movement in Latin America.”
I then asked Carvalho to name the countries working with the terrorists worldwide for the destruction of the United States. He replied as follows: “Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Russia, and especially China are the main ones. In Latin America, Venezuela is the most obvious example, but Venezuela would be nothing without the support it gets from all the governments of the Sao Paulo Forum, the leader of which is Brazil.”
According to Carvalho, the Left continues to consolidate its position in Latin America. “It has been following a strategy explicitly presented in a Chinese communist congress a few years ago: to take power by means of legal elections and then erode the democratic system from the inside to prevent the opposition from ever coming back to power in future elections,” he explained. “This is to say: they win a first match and then proceed to change the rules of the game. In Brazil this strategy has led to spectacular results. First, the idea was to limit the political field to only two contestants: radical Left and moderate Left. All other forces were dismantled by means of targeted tax audits and corruption charges which did not even need to be proved, since they destroyed reputations once and for all as soon as they were trumpeted by the media.”
Could America’s traditional ally in South America be under the control of a totalitarian movement? How could we miss such an astonishing development? “American opinion-makers have a wrong view of Brazil,” said Carvalho, “because the Brazilian government has always acted in a two-faced and camouflaged way. On the one hand, it has been courting American investors to strengthen the Brazilian economy, but on the other, it has been taking advantage of economic success in order to consolidate the Leftist sway at home, to make impossible any political opposition which is not that of the moderate left, and to give effective support to the rise of the Left in neighboring countries, while protecting openly terrorist organizations like the FARC and the Chilean MIR, which thus have ended up controlling the local criminal organization and getting the monopoly of the drug market in Brazil. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has also dismantled the opposition, but using more blatant methods.”
Since Brazil harbors the core of the communist movement in Latin America, how is the anti-American campaign progressing? According to Carvalho the Left is not always able to move forward. “It follows an alternating rhythm,” he explained, “according to whether the important thing at the moment is to flatter foreign investors or to unify and strengthen the Latin American Left.”
“For more than ten years,” Carvalho noted, “I have been warning that the Worker’s Party [in Brazil] is not an organization like the others; that is, willing to alternate with the opposition in power. The Worker’s Party is a revolutionary organization committed to reshaping the state and the entire society after its image and likeness, by using, for this purpose, the vilest and most corrupt resources. Since no one has ever believed any of this, everyone has kindly disarmed himself in the face of this rising party, and now that it controls everything, no one can do anything against it. Brazil is governed by a single party which has several names. I see no prospect of changing this situation in the short or medium term.”
I asked Carvalho about Chile, which turned away from the Left in its last elections. Of all the countries in South America, what is the secret of Chile’s apparent conservatism? “The Chilean elite is infinitely more educated and better morally prepared than the Brazilian elite,” he replied. “When things start to move towards the abyss, the Chileans are able to understand what is happening and change course before disaster occurs. You cannot imagine the intellectual laziness of Brazilian businessmen, politicians and military people. Even when the situation becomes alarming, they cling to their comfortable and usual beliefs and refuse to inform themselves on what is really happening. The wealthy classes in Brazil are presumptuous and helpless. They do not know how to resist the subtle game of blandishments and threats played by the Leftist government that controls them. Not only in Chile but also in Argentina, the elites are much better prepared to face such a situation.”
And what is the most important thing Americans should know about the present political situation in South America? “The most important thing,” said Carvalho, “is the deep and solid unity of the local Leftist movements across national borders, the unity of the revolutionary strategy that lies behind seeming and misleading differences of national character. There are no ‘two Lefts’ in Latin America. There is only one Left, which has so much solidarity with itself that it never loses control of the two faces it employs to fool American observers.”
Hearing Carvalho characterize the Brazilian business and political elite as intellectually lazy, I could not help thinking of the American elite. They have also refused to changed course in the face of approaching disaster. Even as the situation becomes alarming, they spend more and more money. They court enemies and betray allies. It is true, as well, that they “do not know how to resist the subtle game of blandishments and threats played by the Leftist” power.