There is some similarity between the atomic age and the action of ideology. The atomic age has put the spotlight on the smallest unit in nature, the atom. On the other hand, ideology has put spotlight on the smallest unit in society, man.
As has Campbell said, just as the nation that has the greatest knowledge, skill and resources for splitting the atom will be first in the race for military power, so the people who possess the secret and skill of changing human nature will be first in the race for adequate ideological force to remake the world.
Somehow the energy of ideology is greater than atomic energy. For the idea that controls the brain that controls the hand that splits the atom, is what finally decides how and where the power of atomic energy shall be released.
A nation’s strength cannot be measured solely by economic resources, production potential and manpower. Greater than all these is the penetrating and uniting power of its idea.
These considerations about ideology are extremely important in Brazil in this moment. After the subtle coup that ousted President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is living a phase of political struggle that has as its central focus the ideological dispute.
The new government acts on three fronts: adoption of a conservative agenda that attacks social rights; reorientation of foreign policy, adopting belligerent positions against other countries in South America; attempting to block investigations of corruption cases as they reach members of Temer government.
Diverse and growing popular protests against the new government have been carried out throughout the country, which have been harshly repressed by the police in states like São Paulo.
Basically, the ideological narrative that the new government tries to promote has two points: the defense of order and the affirmation of the moral postulate against acts of corruption. As a result of the first point, it has intensified the repression against protests versus the new government.
On the second point, the government is in no condition to defend itself because Temer’s administration is the result of a pact involving several tricksters, and many of its allies are being investigated for corruption.
Therefore, using ideology, Temer administration aims to manipulate people and gains support for its political agenda. This is the focus of the ideological dispute in Brazil today.
One of the fundamental tasks of independent Brazilian intellectuals today, is to demonstrate the discursive mechanisms of ideological and political fraud that is taking place in the country.
Ideological manipulation leads to suffering, chaos and injustice. But good ideas can make a society be reborn to new political, economic and social projects.
Ivonaldo Leite is a sociologist, Ph.D from the University of Porto, Portugal and a professor at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil.