Best Of The Web
“THE WORLD’S FOURTH-LARGEST DEMOCRACY has elected a neofascist as president. The editorial and opinion pages of respectable newspapers the world over warn of the dangers of Jair Bolsonaro; prominent foreign intellectuals and economists have signed open letters urging the country to reconsider. But educated cosmopolitan types in Brazil—the kind who would normally place great store in the words of the Washington Post or The Economist—take no heed. Here, the center never bothered holding; the coalition assembled behind Bolsonaro is more than content to tolerate authoritarian head-banging when the alternative is moderate social democracy.
The one thing that unifies Bolsonaro supporters—from big financiers to small businessmen, young urban liberals to neo-Pentecostal evangelicals—is antipetismo, or hatred of the Workers Party (PT), the former ruling party cofounded by former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known familiarly as Lula. They stole the state and broke Brazil, runs the refrain in the centers of respectable opinion. They’re Bolivarian Bolsheviks come to turn Brazil into Venezuela and/or our kids gay. Who’d want that? Better to go with the guy who’s marketed himself as the anti-that.
Bolsonaro, though, is “beyond the pale, a military evil.” These are the words of Ernesto Geisel—not a leftist of any description, but Brazil’s military dictator in the late 1970s—spoken in an interview in the early 1990s. Bolsonaro represents an extreme dissident tendency even within the military establishment. For him, Brazil’s hard right 1964 military coup—the “day that lasted twenty-one years” —did not go far enough: the dictatorship “should have killed thirty thousand more,” he said in 1999, while serving the third of his seven running terms as congressman. “We’re going to machine gun down the petralhada”—a portmanteau of PT and the Portuguese name for the cartoon criminals The Beagle Boys—Bolsonaro exulted on the campaign trail. Lest anyone think this was a random moment of unscripted campaign excess—an occasion to take Bolsonaro—at an October 21 rally the candidate promised to “carry out a cleanup never before seen in Brazilian history,” in which “red outlaws would be sent to jail or into exile.” Driving the point home, he pledged to the leaders of the left opposition that the “police, with legal backing, would make the law felt on your backs.” When it comes to the use of state violence to punish and persecute his foes, the “outsider” politician has remained remarkably consistent.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax."
"One problem with today’s polarized politics is that both parties don’t mind stretching constitutional limits to achieve their policy goals. Democrats cheered on Barack Obama’s legal abuses on immigration and so much more..."
"The Democratic Party has problems with Israel. But Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), the new members of Congress who have attracted attention with toxic tweets and support for boycott, are not the main protagonists."
"Chicago Police sources now suggest he staged what he says was a racist and homophobic attack on him. Smollett vigorously denies it. Whatever the truth, it's a moment to reflect."
"In talmudic tort law.. the responsible party must transfer to the plaintiff an area of his best land of equivalent value- rather than a larger area of low-quality land. From the standpoint of classical economics, such a requirement is nonsensical."
"“Alexa, can I use you on Shabbat?” The journalist spoke into a small glass-and-metal device he held in his hand, which connected him to a distant supercomputer in a place known only as “the Cloud.”"
"Racial capitalism is the process of getting some sort of social or economic benefit from someone else’s racial identity. In the United States, this usually, though not always, involves white people benefiting from nonwhite racial identity."
"A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined..."
"I’ll state the obvious and say that much if not all of the reason my life hasn’t changed is that I’m not a parent. Children are life’s great timekeepers, and when you don’t live with any, you’re at the mercy of your own internal clock..."
"...cooking without recipes is a kitchen skill same as cutting vegetables into dice. It’s a way to improve your confidence in the kitchen and to make the act of cooking fun when sometimes it seems like a chore."
"Psychedelics have frequently been maligned in both the scientific community and mainstream culture. But new medical research and a more capacious understanding of the drugs have started to shift opinions."
"The story of angels stretches all the way back to the opening sections of the Book of Genesis. There, God posts cherubs as sentries at the gates of the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve’s expulsion. "