Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Political Correctness": One of the threats to the Brazilian democracy

Published on www.votebrasil.com.br and midiasemmascara.org sites.*

Translated from portuguese by the author with the help from Pedro Mallmann

"New Year, New life", is one of the popular sayings this time of the year, but it could as well turn out to be true in this very year of 2006.

So many analyses have been made on the possible outcomes of the political events of the year - the implosion - "from the inside" – of what used to be known as the "historical struggles" of the Workers' Party (ethics, truthfulness, struggle against corruption and poverty) and the surprising result of the referendum on the ban on arms sales in Brazil. Some of the analyses pointed out the latter as some kind of a plebiscite on the government, unveiling the rejection of the speech of the winning party, the very speech with which they won the 2002 elections. But it only points out a rejection in political-partisan terms.

This is a partial view of the events. In reality, the defeat of the "Yes" in the referendum was a clue that a much bigger chain - bigger than political-partisan choices - was defeated. This chain is ' the politically correct ' thought.

The "politically correct" can be defined as a type of ' wishful-thinking' that is self-achieved through the mantric repetition of words of order. These words are carefully chosen to define the reality in a differentiated manner, thus having the power of modifying the way people think about it, and ending by modifying reality itself. The basic premise is that 'reality' is subjective in essence, therefore being an exclusively personal good. By modifying this personal vision of reality through the Pavlovian conditioning of repetition, reality will be finally modified. Therefore reality is just a set of personal realities.

Initially received as a pseudo-intellectualized extravagance, it went on – by the means of a very careful dissemination plan by the 'cultural elite' – contaminating all environments it got in touch with. Its emergence to political campaign speeches and to the country's largest newspaper leads was the sign of the victory of political correctness in the market of ideas 'that sell'. From this point on - defined temporally in the 90's – there were no political speeches or political news left without incorporating the flavor of political correctness; if not political correctness itself incorporating the speeches.

All political parties were misled by 'political correctness'. They all started to sound and to act as 'pc'. From right-wing to leftist parties, they all missed the point on the real nature of 'pc'. The result was that we came to a point that all parties lost their identity, as far as the public is concerned.

The lack of parties with electoral "persona" had its pinnacle in the presidential election of 2002, where all options seemed absolutely the same, and leaving it up to the electorate to choose between neckties, suits and hairdos. The apparent convergence of thought was so evident that all the 'adversaries' of 2002 ended up forming the support base of the new government in 2003. This lack of political identity caused by the overwhelming success of politically correct is a threat to the Brazilian democracy. The lack of a broad range of political-partisan options is a mistake that has to be corrected. When I mention political-partisan options, I do not refer to the number of parties - which I consider excessive in Brazil - but to their political colors.

The conclusion is that, by means of the politically correct speech, political parties in Brazil were transformed into uncolored, odorless jelly of slogans totally detached from the voters' real world. The result of the referendum on the ban of arms sales was a clear sign to the political class for them to avoid the excess of politically correct speech and pay more attention to the real world.

In spite of the apparent popular support to the political correctness, the formula seems worn out. The adorned speech, full of good intentions, disclosed its major victim after all: the political class. The witchcraft struck back against the wizard. The public perceived that, behind the good intentions, the real intention could be very diverse, in terms of a Brazilian new edition of Orwell's doublethink. The overwhelming victory of the 'NO' vote in the referendum was a good expression of the exhaustion of "PC". Never have emotional appeals had so little attention. And never have words like 'individual rights' and 'freedom of choice' been so much debated in this country.

I hope this is the symbol of a new stage of Brazilian democracy. I anxiously look forward to the next chapters.

Happy New Year!
Translated from portuguese by the author with the help from Pedro Mallmann

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