Skip to comments.A Philosopher's Warning
Posted on 02/18/2011 5:04:59 PM PST by ashukla
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.
Adversity employs great talents; prosperity renders them useless and carries the inept, the corrupted wealthy and the wicked to the top
May they bear in mind that virtue often contains the seeds of tyranny
May they bear in mind that it is neither gold nor even a multitude of arms that sustains a state but its morals
May each of them keep in his house, in a corner of this field, next to his workbench, next to his plow, his gun, his sword, and his bayonet
May they all be soldiers
May they bear in mind that in circumstances where deliberation is possible, the advice of old men is good but that in moments of crisis youth is generally better informed that its elders
Apostrophe to the Insurgents, 1782
You’ve got to read this - it explains a helluva lot.
I’m afraid that this makes a lot of sense.
And although he doesn’t say it, it’s pretty clear where Obama stands and what he represents.
Morality flows outwards from individuals, not the other way around. This is not to say that people don't engage in group mentality, but it all boils back down to the individual responsibility and the knowledge of right from wrong.
Just as you cannot legislate morality, business cannot provide moral structure. If people running a business have a moral compass, the business as a whole will have a good moral structure.
If those people do not have any moral compass, no business is going to supply one.
You’ve got to read this; it isn’t what you think it is by just reading the first two or three paragraphs.
In the fourth paragraph this fellow goes into detail about how the Russians and Chinese are destroying the U.S. at home and abroad. By the time I finished reading it felt like ice water running in my veins - I believe it to be the truth.
Youve got to read this; it isnt what you think it is by just reading the first two or three paragraphs.
In the fourth paragraph this fellow goes into detail about how the Russians and Chinese are destroying the U.S. at home and abroad. By the time I finished reading it felt like ice water running in my veins - I believe it to be the truth.
Thanks SatinDoll and Cicero.
I guess I didn’t interpret that the same as you did. He wasn’t saying the business world provided morality, he said that neo-liberals believed it would, and of course, it didn’t. The belief became a convenient excuse to do as you please and then claim that market forces would impose an appropriate morality.
What you are saying I absolutely agree with and I don’t see Carvalho contradicting that.
I remember quite some time ago, that while the US is so involved in their own civil war, the Chinese will invade and attack.
It was eons ago and have no idea where I read it. Seemed far fetched back then....not so much now.
It’s really not a mystery why things seem different in America than 30 years ago...it is called ‘demoralization’. Socialists have been covertly promoting demoralization through movies, music, arts and politics across the globe for decades now to bring about “change”.
This is, of course, the libertarian philosophy, that freedom always and inevitably leads to morality.
IMO the free market is like the scientific method and biological evolution in that it is a very effective method to reach an efficient result, but it is inherently amoral.
And that, in a nutshell, is why Ayn Rand style objectivism leads ultimately to the state of affairs as socialism/communism. Rand's "heroic" human being is merely a softer-edged version of the super-man espoused by Nietszche and Shaw. Ultimately someone always thinks they know better than everyone else and exercises all available power to impose their will. The end of human will, unfettered by Christian values, is almost always totalitarianism.
I heard Tom Wolfe say that we lost this country when we removed the Ten Commandments from the town square.
Since then we’ve become a society of lies.
Thanks for the ping, LucyT.
The Chileans seem to be more aware of the dangers surrounding them. We should learn from their example.
There’s that pesky “freedom” again, messing up everyone’s lives. Didn’t the Founding Fathers warn us about “liberty?”
Who is Tom Wolfe...You can’t go home again?...or something like that?
‘Bonfire of the Vanities’
They warned us that liberty unbalanced by morality can lead to very bad results.
As Franklin said, they gave us a republic, if we can keep it. IMO we’re well on the way to losing it.
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."
Burke, not a Founder, but would have been had he been an American.
“The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations, which may soon be turned into complaints.”
Eye opening. Thanks for posting.
As a thought along those lines, consider the overwhelming majority of movies which take place in the 'future' have presented us with a post-apocalyptic landscape of ruin and moral degredation. When is the last time you saw such a film, showing a future which was optimistic and the result of progress and not decay?
Perhaps those of us who are of a 'survivalist' bent should look toward fighting for a better future rather than just surviving a decaying one.
Can you provide a quote from one of them that resembles this assertion? A direct reference, at least?
How about the French Revolution, and its subsequent descent into a living hell on earth. Is that a bad enough result for you?
More and more, the nation of Brazil keeps popping up as an opponent of the U.S.A.
Wonder what got their knickers in a twist? All the fascist Germans who fled there after WWII?
I hope we have enough intelligent, patriotic people in this country that are capable of doing the same.
I will re-read it...I may not have received the correct context.
Brazil is the worlds largest exporter of coffee and sugar, the second-largest soybean producer and the third-largest exporter of corn. Argentina is the second-largest corn shipper and the third-largest grower of soybeans.
Investing in Adecoagro is a way to play the potential global shortage of food, especially in emerging markets, Francis Gaskins, president of Marina del Rey, California-based IPOdesktop.com, said in a note today.
Higher commodity prices are leading to riots, demonstrations and political instability, Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economics professor who predicted the financial crisis, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier this week.
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.
Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
Exactly as Burke predicted in post 17. Well before it got to the Terror stage.
You have any idea of the sealift capacity needed to move an invasion army of sufficient size to conquer a continent? The US and Britain were challenged to put one together for D-Day, and that was from a secure base only a few miles from the target. The Chinese would have to cross thousands of miles of open water.
While it is theoretically possible US ground forces could be tied up in a civil war, the US Navy is more or less by definition unable to participate effectively in such a war, and might have something to say about whether a Chinese invasion fleet could make it here.
How about this one?
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.--John Adams
Ping for later
Virtue is given by God to those remaining in faith in Christ and growing by His work in them.
Freedom without authority is anarchy and authority without freedom is tyranny.
Moral degeneracy leads to loss of freedom and may promote tyranny, but virtue encourages humility, grace, love, and justice.
Good article, although IMHO, attributing a use of words to George Soros and Karl Popper in the same sentence is an insult to Popper and too generous to Soros.
Don’t underestimate the actual logistics required for maneuver warfare in limited warfare is different than that in total war.
Should a foreign force begin with assessing their resources to project an invading force, then mold the environment upon which the advance to lessen their opposition, they may well be poised to invade a foreign shore.
We probably won’t see something like Normandy or Tarawa, but might well observe an invasion of Mexican illegals, coupled with well controlled columns similar to the US advance into Baghdad.
I’m with Abe. Much more true even than when he said it almost 175 years ago.
“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?— Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!—All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”
Marked for later.
Just look at the restrictions this admin. put on our soldiers fighting a freakin war.
When Benjamin Spock replaced Benjamin Franklin’s “Spare the rod & spoil the child”
They must be nuts. ;’)
...it is clear that Lula and his party, being the founders and the strategic centre of the Forum, had to keep a low profile, leaving to more peripheral members, like Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales, the flashiest or most scandalous part of the job. Hence, the false impression that there are two lefts in Latin America, one democratic and moderate, and the other radical and authoritarian. There are two lefts, indeed, but they are rather the one that commands, and the other that follows the firsts orders and thereby risks its own reputation. All that the Latin American left has done in the last nineteen years was previously discussed and decided in the Forums assemblies, which Lula presided over, either directly until 2002, or through his deputy, Marco Aurélio Garcia, afterwards. . The strategic command of the Communist revolution in Latin America is neither in Venezuela, nor in Bolivia, nor even in Cuba. It is in Brazil.[My emphasis]
I am interested in Brazil because, as a former Catholic seminarian, I was sent there for a month on an "apostolic" internship. We spent a month in Recife, one of the bastions of liberation theology during the liberal ascendancy of the '70 & '80's. I was there with one other seminarian from Detroit (both of us conservative, orthodox guys). We stayed with two old dinosaur liberation theologians and their quasi-Marxist nun coworkers. That was a trip in more ways than one, let me tell you. It was the first time I had heard of "liberation theology." I was sure their point of view was destined for history's junk heap (this was in 2005--who knew that liberation theology would be a hot item 3 years later!!) We lived in Nova Descoberta, one of the favellas bordering Recife.
Anyway, we met many strange creatures, one of whom was the chief of staff of the district's rep in the federal parlement. We sat in this guy's house and talked about this and that. He was very curious about us two seminarians, what we thought about economics, faith, politics. He gave us some flyers from a recent campaign. Now, the flyers had pics of this guy's boss, not with the Pres of Brazil, but with Hugo Chavez!! Keep in mind, this was literature meant to appeal to Brazilians, and here was the local rep pressing the flesh not with his own President (de Lula), but with the President of another country (Chavez)! This all took place in the spring of 2005. When I saw this, I asked him what he knew about the Sao Paolo Forum. He indignantly answered through a translator that he knew nothing about it, and the exchange pretty much ended our little visit. I had no doubt that I touched a sensitive spot with my question. Afterwards I never had any doubt that all these countries were working together to oppose us.
It made me sad to think that Brazil is run by such nefarious types. Aside from having to live under the supervision of a bunch of Marxist priests and nuns for a month, I totally loved Brazil, I'd go back in a heartbeat. Lovely weather, lovely landscape, lovely girls!! Highest quotient of "feminine pulchritude" outside of Prague and Texas I've ever seen. And ordinary Brazilians struck me as naturally enterprising, hard-working and, yes, capitalistic people. Much more so than the Mexicans.
Anyway, just my two cents. It seems like the whole world is no caught in some mysterious, but palpable undertow towards revolution and revolt. Recent events have put me in mind of so many things I've experienced in the last ten years. Weird times we're living in....