Diffuse Indoctrination


O Globo, January 27, 2001

Translated by Assunção Medeiros

A public that is contaminated by Marxist indoctrination to the marrow does not have – exactly because of that – the slightest idea it is being indoctrinated. The first step of indoctrination is purely cultural, diffuse, and does not aim to give the individual any explicit political conviction whatsoever, but only to shape his cosmovision according to the basic guidelines of the Marxist philosophy, given without that name, naturally, and presented as if it was general Knowledge, with a capital “K”. With the exception of an extremely reduced number of intellectuals that have studied critically the communist movement, and of the people that are too poor to have received any education at all, rarely do we find a Brazilian citizen that is not already taken with this vision of the world, at least because they ignore it is a vision and not the world itself.

In especial, the explanation of history based in the Marxist scheme of the economically defined classes, which is the background for a more active indoctrination, can already be considered totally integrated to the thought schema of the media and the educated population, to the point that no one there has the awareness that it is just a theory among many. Everyone takes this theory as a direct translation of the reality we live. Even if it has little to do with the real distribution of forces in the Brazilian social panorama, the individual spontaneously appeals to its basic concepts – if not to its nomenclature – to express what he thinks is going on in society. Thus, for example, the state bureaucracy, instead of being viewed as an autonomous force, which is a characteristic trait of Brazilian society – and even though inside it is recruited the most part of the leftist militancy –, has become invisible enough that the effects of its actions can be attributed to the “dominant class”, understood in the sense of “the rich” or “the capitalists”. The middle class, who encompasses 46% of our population and includes almost all of the politically active people (especially from the left), has no conscience of itself as a distinct entity. Each person inside it, spontaneously, divides the social picture between “the rich” and “the poor”, taking the party discourses as if they were trustworthy translations of the underlying sociological realities, and putting themselves among the poor, without noticing that the poor put them among the rich and, actually, envy and hate them more than any banker. The alienation between social reality and the self-explanatory discourse, in such circumstances, is total.

With equal ease, the comprehension of ideas as stereotyped expressions of class interest is projected over the image of our historical past, leveling like a bulldozer the fact that is easily proven – but Marxistically unexplainable – that in Brazil the ideological discourses almost never coincide with the objective interests of the social classes involved. In public education, in books, in the so-called educational programs on TV, the Marxist reduction of the cultural production to superstructures of class interests are already so deeply imbued in the current vocabulary that whoever desires to present some other version of history does not know where to start to explain himself and can even fall into the ridiculous situation of charging head-on into “common sense” (in the Gramscian sense of the term).

In a very comprehensible manner, but no less ironic because of that, the more limited the horizon of a person is to the canons of the Marxist vulgate, the more violently will this person react to the statement that there is Marxist propaganda in Brazil and, even more, to the idea that the communists have any power among us. Being invisible, as René Guénon used to say, is a thing of the essence of power itself.

A second phase of indoctrination is the one that will associate, to the class stereotype, the moral and emotional values necessary to awaken reactions of pleasure or displeasure whether the discourse sounds like something associated with the “class interests” of the kindly poor or the evil rich, even if, objectively, it has little to do with that. The discourse in favor of free enterprise, for instance, even though it speaks objectively in favor of an immense part of the poor population that makes a living from the informal economy, is rejected as a defense of the interests of the “élite” and of the multinational companies, while the state-centralizing discourse, even though it does not make the least scratch in the interests of the richer class, and in fact strengthens the omnipotent bureaucracy that reduces the country to poverty through a scorching tributary burden, is better accepted as the expression of the interests of the “excluded”. From alienation we then move on to hallucination. But, not by coincidence, this same anguish that comes from the vague intuition of madness is immediately used to generate more hate towards the stereotyped image of the “dominant class” – held responsible for all the evils and personified in individuals and groups that, in truth, are not dominant at all and function only as scapegoats, such as the military. To such an extent do these conventional symbols substitute the perception of the facts that an event like the World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, is passively accepted by its nominal value of antiglobalist manifestation, regardless of the support it receives from ONU, the heart of the New World Order, as well as from a world network of Non-Governmental Organizations, that are to ONU what the arteries and veins are to the heart.

Without witnesses

Olavo de Carvalho

O Globo (Rio de Janeiro), July 22nd. 2000

“We have to unmask ourselves to reach the inner authenticity of a culture in which we will, one day, be able to recognize ourselves and feel fulfilled.”

J.O. de Meira Penna, Em Berco Esplendido

In My Childhood and Youth, Albert Schweitzer recalls the moment when, for the first time, he felt ashamed of himself. He was about 3 years old and was playing in the garden. Then came a bee and stung his finger. He cried and was helped by his parents and neighbors. Suddenly, little Albert realized that the pain had already been gone for several minutes and that he continued to cry only to retain the attention of the audience. When he told this story, Schweitzer was in his seventies. He had behind him a life of achievements, a great life of an artist, doctor, philosopher, the life of a Christian soul devoted to helping the poor and the sick. But he still felt the shame of that first time he cheated. This feeling persisted through the years in the depth of his memory, kicking his conscience at every new temptation of fooling himself.

It should be noted that those around him had not noticed anything: it was only the little Schweitzer who knew of his shame, only he had to account for his act before his conscience and his God. I am convinced that experiences like this one – the acts without witnesses, as I use to call them – are the only possible basis upon which a man can develop an authentic, rigorous and autonomous moral conscience. Only one who in solitude knows how to be rigorous and just with himself – and against himself – is capable of judging others with justice, instead of being led by the screaming crowd, the propaganda stereotypes, or by self-interest disguised in beautiful moral pretexts.

The reason for this is self evident: a man must be free from all external surveillance to be sure that he is looking to himself, and not to a social role, and only then will he be able to make a totally sincere judgment. Only one who is master of himself is free – and nobody is master of himself if he cannot withstand glancing alone into his own heart.

Even the most candid conversation, the most spontaneous confession do not replace this interior examination, because they are valid only if they are the very expression of an interior examination, and not mere passing outbursts, induced by a casually stimulating atmosphere or by vain candor.

On top of that, it is not only the moral dimension of conscience that develops itself through this confrontation: it is the whole conscience – cognitive esthetic, practical. For the interior examination is at once a bringing together and a setting apart: it is the solitary judgment which creates the true intimacy of a man with himself, while it also creates the distance, the interior space in which life experiences and knowledge are acquired, deepened and personalized. Without this internal space, without this personal “world” gained in solitude, man is but a pipe through which information flows in and out, as food transformed into leftovers.

Now, not all human beings are endowed by Providence with a spontaneous perception and a precise judgment of their sins. Without these gifts, the will for justice is corrupted into a projective inculpation of others and into “rationalization” (in the psychoanalytical meaning of the word). Who has not been given these gifts at birth must acquire them through education. Therefore, moral education consists less in memorizing lists of rights and wrongs than in establishing a moral environment conducive to self-examination, to interior seriousness, to the responsibility of each one of knowing what he was doing when nobody was watching.

During two millennia, such an environment was created and sustained by the Christian practice of the “examination of conscience”, equivalents of which can be found in other religious and mystic traditions, but not in contemporary lay culture. There is Psychoanalysis, there is psychotherapy, but they only work in this context when they preserve the religious reference to personal guilt and to its healing through confession before God. As society de-Christianizes itself (or, mutatis mutandis, as it loses its Islamic or Judaic content), that reference is diluted and clinic techniques usually lead to the opposite outcome: they abolish the sentiment of guilt, exchanging it for a selfish hardening which is mistaken for “maturity”, or for a self-complacent, limp and crooked ability to adapt, which is mistaken for “sanity”.

The difference between the religious technique and its modern imitations is that it summarizes, in a single dramatic experience, the pain of guilt and the joy of total liberation. And this cannot be achieved by lay techniques, exactly because they entirely miss the dimension of a “Final Judgment,” of the confrontation with an eternal destiny which, by giving to this experience a metaphysical meaning, raised the desire for personal responsibility to the heights of a nobility of soul with which the appearances of “citizenship ethics” cannot even dream about.

For the past two centuries, modern culture has endeavored whatever it can to debilitate, suffocate and banish from the soul of each man the capacity for this supreme experience in which self-conscience is demanded to its utmost, the only one in which someone may acquire an authentic measure of the possibilities and duties of the human condition. “Lay ethics,” “education for citizenship” is all that is left externally when the internal conscience shuts up and when man’s actions do not mean anything beyond violation or observance of a code of conventional acts and casual interests.

In this sense, “ethics” is pure adaptation to the exterior, without any intimate echo other than the one which can be obtained by the forceful internalization of slogans, ready-made sentences and words of order. It is the sacrifice of conscience on the shrine of the official lie of the day.

Truth and Pretext

by Olavo de Carvalho

O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, May 27th. 2000

Translated by Daniel Brilhante de Brito (http://www.dbb.com.br)

Sceptics, relativists and pragmatists, who champion the idea that knowledge is something merely functional, operational have the grandest of pretences, namely that in a democracy rigorous, proven truth will undermine the health of the body politic. They suggest that if you claim to know the truth it is because you are utterly intolerant of adverse opinion. Such is their point. They then set out to argue that you can prove nothing whatever; and will go on to claim that the world will not be happy until all the theories have cancelled out one another, and mankind has finally acknowledged that there is no such thing as truth; that whatever goes under this name are just figments. These, again, are only provisional, if useful in nature. Once you have abolished the test of truth, all ideas have just about the same value. At this stage, you will have perfect democracy.

People used to judging ideas by their face value, and this means nearly the whole of the human race, will not think twice before jumping to this conclusion, if only because from their standpoint they are flattered to find out that their opinions being as useful and as provisional as any other these can justifiably be ranked beside those of Aristotle and Leibnitz.

But this persuasive set of appearances leaves out the plain, brutal fact that neither of this century’s major brands of totalitarianism – Communism or Nazism – accepted the existence of an objective truth; much to the contrary their tenet was that ideas, rather than instrumental to the knowledge of the real world were just tools that could be used to change it. Karl Marx was explicit on his head in his ‘Theses on Feuerbach”. One odd peculiarity of the Marxist view is the notion that History cannot be approached ‘from the outside’; nor for that matter can its unfathomable depths be explored theoretically other than by a subject who as a preliminary step has himself joined the cause of the proletariat; for not until the subject is personally engaged in the working class struggle is he expected to grasp the revolutionary process from within, in other words, the dialectic process itself through which this process evolves. When he claimed that class war was inextricably both a scientific theory and the rule of thumb for the revolutionary praxis, Marx distorted the very idea of ‘scientific theory’. Stripped of its role as an intellectual synthesis of objective findings, scientific theory was no more than a means of producing or modifying these findings in retrospect to fit the theory.

Nobody grasped this notion so thoroughly as did Lenin when he found that a proletarian revolution was conceivable in a nation where no proletariat existed; all that was needed was for a self-appointed élite of future proletarians to take over, and once in power to set about creating a proletariat.

Even more blatantly instrumental and pragmatic was Adolf Hitler’s idea of truth. As reported by Hermann Rauschning in his “Conversations with Hitler”(1940), he said, “I am quite aware that in a scientific sense there is no such thing as ‘races’. But as a politician I must have a concept to justify the destruction of the existing order to give place to a new one.” This is as though the ghost of Karl Marx were haunting his surroundings – the world, after all, is not meant to be described, but changed.

He who would believe an objective truth will look for one and put it to the test of proof. Conversely, he who will reduce the truth to a tool of change for the world cannot abide the onus of proof, all he has to do is to eliminate whoever stands in the way as an obstacle to change.

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