The other day a Brazilian friend asked me if I had noticed that, within a single generation, forms of conduct described by psychiatry as neurotic or even psychotic have become accepted as normal. Not just normal – I responded – but normative, laudable, and obligatory. The next steps are: (a) marginalize and criminalize every reaction of revulsion, (b) make revulsion psychologically impossible, expelling it from the repertoire of conduct admitted by society.
Only unconcealed paranoia could allow, for example, a country like Brazil where there are 50,000 homicides every year, spread over the whole territory of 8.5 million square kilometers, to describe the murder of 120 homosexuals as a wave of homophobic genocide. However, it is only necessary for someone to appeal to such a statistical comparison and instantly, among cries of revulsion and tears of indignation from the crowd, he is accused of homophobia and of being an apostle of genocide.
The idea of comparing the number of gays who are murdered with those who are murderers, scientifically indispensable for distinguishing between a threatened group, a threatening group, and a group that is neither one or the other, ends up being so offensive that the mere temptation to suggest it is sufficient for one to be prosecuted for homophobia, without the law even having to prove it.
Likewise, Brazilian gay leader Mr. Luiz Mott alleges as proof of generalized anti-homosexual hatred, some 90 cases of aggressions against homosexuals that have occurred in the space of four months in São Paulo, but who dares to compare that number with the number of aggressions committed by the very gay militants themselves in only one day of the Gay Parade in the same city?
Applying the statistical criteria of Mr. Mott, we would say that gays are a danger to the public. The conclusion is absurd, but no more absurd than claiming that they themselves are in danger.
A sense of proportion being prohibited, and the hysterical posturing and hyperbolic paranoia in favor of interest groups become absolute civic obligations. Insanity becomes obligatory, and whoever refuses to be contaminated by it is a criminal, a reprobate, a lunatic who is unable to live in society.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the President of the Republic, a few months back participated in emergency forums regarding this psychotic stupidity, declaring that any and all opposition to homosexualism is “the most perverse illness that ever entered the human mind”.
He reinforces his words, insisting in appearing in official ceremonies with Mr. Luiz Mott at his side, the same individual who talks about pornographic art while embracing the statue of a naked baby of the male sex, transmitting in a not at all subtle manner the idea that babies are, or should be made into, objects of sexual desire like anyone else.
The propaganda of pedophilia is more than evident here, but, upon decorating Mr. Mott for “cultural merit” (as if he himself had merit or culture), Mr. Lula throws all of the weight of his presidential authority in a cynical bluff that forces us to deny what we see, and to believe instead the official pretense of elevated humanitarian and cultural intentions.
There is no greater arrogance than demanding that a human being sacrifice his conscience, his intelligence, and even his capacity of sense perception on the altar of the absurd. “In the end, who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes,” Groucho Marx used to ask. When the joke is transformed into reality, humor becomes a satanic farce.
Totally oblivious to the grotesque nature of his performance, the lunatic ascends the chair and gives lessons in psychiatry, categorizing as “sick” those who think there is something wrong about eroticizing an image of a baby, and even proposing, as therapy, to imprison all of them.
And there are those who think that it is possible to have a rational, polite discussion with people like Messrs. Lula and Mott…
Olavo de Carvalho is a Brazilian writer and philosopher presently living in the U. S. as a correspondent for Brazilian newspapers. He is the author of several books, including O Imbecil Coletivo: Atualidades Inculturais Brasileiras (1996) and O Futuro do Pensamento Brasileiro – Estudos sobre o Nosso Lugar no Mundo (1997). His articles can be found at www.olavodecarvalho.org and www.midiasemmascara.org. The author welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translated from the Portuguese by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman.