Every politician lies a little. There is in this phrase a possible rancidity of prejudice. To some degree, we all lie. Out of sympathy, benevolence, etiquette… Without the spice of deceit and self-deception, we ended up at the guillotine or at the fire, with the inquisitors, of course!, praying for our soul in the name of the good, the beautiful and the just. A lie here and there is a form of social adjustment. They guarantee the functioning of the system.
Like everything else in life, untruths are also subject to a scale. There are those that are morally irrelevant, which the man or woman who makes politics resort to to avoid deadlocks. One of the efforts, for example, consists in showing coherent thought, submitting the contradictions themselves to an interested re-reading. Thus, hypocrisy can be the hallmark of the effectiveness of the speech.
Imagine a collegiate of representatives of the people in which no one ever changed their mind or ever made concessions. Max Weber has already addressed the issue by distinguishing the “ethics of responsibility” from the “ethics of conviction.” I am always concerned with the formation of a readership. I suggest research for those who do not know the author and the distinction he makes. Those who do will discover one more way of tolerance and coexistence between divergents.
If you noticed, I wrote three paragraphs on what I would dare call “salvation hypocrisies.” They free us from peremptory judgments and the rage that insane moralism tends to produce, destroying the political environment, seeking to replace it with its truths and virtues considered pure, immanent and eternal. After all, the Savonarola on duty —another name to lookup?— is the real pervert. It is always he who leads us to the fire and the land of the dead.
And we are in the land of the dead, an image I have constantly resorted to. Almost 500 thousand, as you know. Vaccinations, education and discipline could have drastically reduced them. We arrived at it through the work of that moralism that is no longer the tomb of morality, as I wrote, but an overpopulated cemetery.
It is a fatal mistake to confuse the little lie as the key to effectiveness with the manipulation industry that corrodes institutions and destroys public policy. We must not equalize inequalities.
Governments have lied less or more throughout history. So it is in any country. In Brazil, no one has turned deception into a desideratum, a goal to be achieved, as Jair Bolsonaro does. The amazing things he says and does turn him into something more than just being a bit of a clown. He doesn’t speak in a vacuum. It is a mobilizing force for chaos.
In the era of social networks, Umberto Eco —another one to be visited— was not afraid to be called apocalyptic in characterizing barbarism. The president of Brazil was not ashamed to say, for example, at a religious event this Wednesday (9), that vaccines are still experimental, arguing that immunizing agents are equal to hydroxychloroquine, which would be discredited only because it is a cheap medicine. You’re lying. False information fuels the collapse of the healthcare system.
At the same event, he claimed to have evidence that, in 2018, he was elected in the first round and that there was fraud, demonizing, once again, electronic voting machines. You’re lying. There’s no proof at all. It puts the electoral system in doubt and anticipates a possible coup pantomime if it loses the election.
In conversations with followers, he attributed to TCU a framework devised by the son of a “parça”, who pointed to an alleged overestimation of the number of deaths in Covid-19. From the lie, another one devised: Brazil would be one of the most successful countries in the world in fighting the disease.
There is, in short, a difference between the lies that guarantee the system’s functionality and the crime. Those told by Bolsonaro kill people, attack institutions, hurt civilizing principles.
Treating their assertions and postulations as legitimate expressions in an arc of possible opinions corresponds to condoning their crimes. To be tolerant of intolerance is neither kindness nor prudence. It’s either stupidity or it’s collusion.
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