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Does the West Believe in Itself?

Toward the end of his book From Dawn to Decadence, Jacques Barzun noted that the popular culture of our time has not “suffered from inertia.” It is mobile and ever-changing, wrote Barzun “in proportion to its predicaments….” It is a culture driven by “paralysis in one domain” and “incompetence in many.” Science and technology have continued to advance while art and literature are suggestive of outright decline. Many observers are reluctant to use the word “decadence” to describe what has been happening to us since the middle of the last century. Such reluctance, said Barzun, is only natural. But if we look at the economic side of culture, considering the sphere of business, production, trade and the market, we will find many worrisome trends. For in the sphere of economics we can track stagnation objectively.

The economy is a part of a larger culture. When cultural decadence appears, economic trouble is not far behind. It is no wonder that the economic growth rates of Europe and America have tended to slow over the last century. Many parallel developments might be cited as partial causes, or corollaries, of economic slowing. Barzun copied out an “anonymous” analyst who held that, “After a time, estimated at a little over a century, the western mind was set upon by a blight: it was boredom.”

Taking up the theme, Diana West has characterized the essential corollary of this boredom in her book The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization. According to West, “The world of sensation engulfs grown-up and child alike. And just as we have erased the boundaries that once defined the domain of traditional childhood, we have also erased the boundaries that once regulated the patterns of average adulthood. Such boundaries – long established according to religious commandments, the law, and related conventions of self-restraint – largely vanished from the courts and the culture by the end of the 1960s.”

In her latest book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, West delves deeper into the causes of our cultural degeneration. At one point she writes, “walking back along the trail, we hit a dead end at the basic question: Why? Why did all of these things begin to happen in the first place? The common reply … comes down to this: We lost our cultural confidence. We don’t believe in ourselves, our values, anymore.” West is saying that we don’t believe as we once did – in Christianity or the free market or America. And what could be more damaging to an economy based on the free market than this sudden collapse of belief?

“The question then becomes,” wrote West, “What if that loss of cultural confidence weren’t the result of an ‘inevitable’ progression from traditional morality to cultural relativism? What if there weren’t in fact some culprit … behind the downward spiral of events…. What if the resulting ‘death of the grown-up’ were in fact … a murder?” West calls this a “half-whimsical conclusion,” but it is no more whimsical than Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises’s statement that the “history of Western civilization is the record of a ceaseless struggle for liberty.” That is to say, a struggle for liberty against those forces which aim at the restriction of human economic activity.

The economist Wilhelm Röpke once noted that genuine periods of enlightenment and freedom required the existence of a large middle class (i.e., the bourgeoisie). A large middle class could not exist without a relatively free market. It is from this market that the middle class has derived its wealth and its desire to advance the cause of liberty. Thus the true middle class, in its heart of hearts, was for Greece against Persia, for Demosthenes against Philip, for Brutus and against Caesar, for America against King George, for NATO against the Warsaw Pact, etc. It is from this self-same middle class that we meet Paul of Tarsus, the tent-maker, and Peter the Fisherman, and Christ the carpenter. These are the opposite of the strong men of history. Such have been the precursors of freedom. Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler were precursors of something at the opposite end of the spectrum.

When Mises wrote that the “history of Western civilization is the record of a ceaseless struggle for liberty” we may track the rise or fall of that liberty as the rise and fall of civilization itself. It is, at the same time, the rise and fall of the middle class and the free market; for all these things are connected, and bound together. In the middle of the nineteenth century, said Mises, “few people anticipated the over-powering momentum which the anti-libertarian ideas were destined to acquire in a very short time.” These anti-market ideas, he added, were camouflaged “as the fulfillment and consummation of the very ideas of freedom and liberty. It came disguised as socialism, communism, planning.”

In his introduction to Röpke’s Moral Foundations of Civil Society, William F. Campbell wrote that European civilization is best defined “as a resistance movement against the lure of the orient.” Campbell noted, “Man’s search for comfort and security always makes us vulnerable to the totalitarian temptation.” According to Campbell, we must take note of the extreme danger to which we are presently exposed. For as the ancient Romans fell, we also stand on the edge of an abyss. Rome was destroyed, wrote Campbell, “because of internal infection and not because of the invasion of the barbarians. Its slide into collectivism and the insect state … was what characterized the post-Augustan age. The taste of luxuries, novelty, and the cult of the colossal had corrupted the household and family. Liberty had run into license.”

The interrelationships between culture, religion, morality, self-discipline and freedom are undeniable. As Röpke explained, “The Christian element [of our heritage] has … been subjected to a continuous process of secularization until finally the power of faith, which had at first consciously and then unconsciously nourished the secularized concept of progress, rationalism, liberty and humanity, began to flag….” We can see evidence of this on every side. We have allowed our heritage to lapse. The religion of the West, together with the legacy of pagan antiquity, caused us to treasure freedom. As Mises explained, “The idea of liberty is and has always been peculiar to the West.” The age of capitalism, he went on to say, “has abolished all vestiges of slavery and serfdom. It has put an end to cruel punishments and has reduced the penalty for crimes committed to the minimum indispensable for discouraging offenders. It has done away with torture….”

Indeed, the reader should understand that the decline of the economy is not a mere administrative problem. It is not a problem to be solved by government intervention. The decline of the economy mirrors a decline in liberty and our belief in those values which have engendered liberty (i.e., Western values). If, at this juncture, anyone thinks we are about to enter a new phase of unprecedented prosperity, leaving the present economic crisis behind us, then show us that Western values are being revived. Show that the forces of tyranny are in retreat. Show that the West once again believes in itself.

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published on Financial Sense on Sept 16, 2013. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Follow the Leader

An interesting news item appeared on Newsmax yesterday with the headline, Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why. In brief the article states that Warren Buffett and other billionaires have no faith in the future of “dyed-in-the-wool” American companies because of recent “disappointing performance.” The rest of the article is an advertisement for an economist who is predicting a large market correction. Such predictions, of course, are the flies of a summer. How can anyone pretend to predict the future?

The political economist Max Weber was, perhaps, best known for writing The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in which he argued that Puritan ethics influenced the development of market society. Weber wanted to be scientific about economics and the way people deal with uncertainty. To this end Weber wrote Economy and Society, in which he divided social action into four types: (1) instrumentally rational; (2) value-rational; (3) affectual; and (4) traditional or “ingrained habituation.” Of these four kinds of action, we might presume that market prediction falls under “instrumentally-rational action” or “value-rational action.”

Science, for Weber and many other scientists, is about prediction. If you want to understand human economic action you need some kind of comprehensive typology for grasping the factors at work. In economics you cannot explain everything that happens in terms of the individual rationally seeking pecuniary advantage. A great deal depends on irrational factors that are rarely discussed. Such factors are hopelessly intertwined with each other – as in the case of the action produced by Puritanism on the market economy of previous centuries.

Weber was particularly interested in the role that religion played in economic activity. And if Weber were alive today, he would be fascinated to see that irrational beliefs of a non-religious kind are having a profound effect on the economy today. In fact, so strongly held are these irrational beliefs, that we cannot even discuss them without entering into controversy. One must either believe, or be an enemy of belief. No rational discussion can be allowed in such cases. For the true believers are, after all, true believers; and everywhere these believers exist and assert their influence. They tyrannize our thinking and bring about profound economic and social changes in society.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Weber’s Economy and Society is Chapter XIV, “Charisma and Its Transformation.” We must not underestimate this most irrational and mysterious factor in economic and political history. For it is during a great crisis that charismatic leadership typically comes into play. Weber explains it like this: “All extraordinary needs … which transcend the sphere of everyday economic routines, have always been satisfied … on a charismatic basis. The further we go back into history, the more strongly does this statement hold.” In other words, the true charismatic leader appears in times of distress, not in times of peace and prosperity. He appears at the beginning and end of things. He may be described as Christ describes himself in the Book of Revelation, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending … which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

The “natural” leader, the charismatic leader, appears as if Providence had summoned him. He speaks as if he has authority from a higher source. Such leaders, wrote Weber, “[are] neither appointed officeholders nor ‘professionals’ in the present-day sense, but rather the bearers of specific gifts of body and mind that were considered ‘supernatural.’” The charismatic leader seems to be channeling something that comes from a “higher” source. When the charismatic leader speaks, people are mesmerized or fascinated by his inspired fervor. They might even feel they are hearing the Word of God.

We must not be constricted, says Weber, with a strictly religious notion of charisma. In an increasingly secular world, where politics has replaced religion, the “charismatic” leader might be a magnetic speaker who hypnotizes the masses while seeming to drift in and out of a religious kind of ecstasy. Setting aside frauds and circus acts, Weber suggests that such leadership is real and has a profound impact wherever it appears. In the complex society of today there might be charismatic leaders in many walks of life, even in corporations. Consider the almost divinely inspired genius of Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla. Both these figures engaged in work that transformed the world economy. We might ask ourselves: Where did they receive their extraordinary inspiration from?

It is interesting to note that the word “genius” comes from the Latin word genii, which refers to the tutelary deities of a person, family or place. Does anyone seriously think that creative inspiration is rational? Or is it mystical? And is not the economy, in large part, driven by creative inspiration? In fact we do not know what invention, what scientific discovery, may next overturn all our economic expectations (whether optimistic or pessimistic). Consider the economic consequences of the computer or smartphone on which you are reading this article. Thirty years ago these products (in current form) didn’t exist. What will exist thirty years from now? Perhaps there will be massive undreamt of prosperity. On the other hand, there may be nothing but rubble and destitution. At this juncture, we simply cannot picture the future with any certainty; for many possibilities lie open to us. Given the creative and charismatic forces unleashed by the global economy, there is no set future, no longer a discernible pattern, and no past with which to compare the present day.

Charisma, says Weber, is a revolutionary force in both society and economy. This is because the charismatic leader creates a new dispensation by laying down a new law, or by instigating a new mode of life “for the sake of glorifying a genuine prophetic and heroic ethos.” People are therefore inspired by the story of Nikola Tesla or Edison, or even by billionaires who have made their money through a process of thought that simply eludes routine number-crunching and common sense. And yes, even billionaires can be charismatic leaders.

Perhaps the uninspired majority need to follow someone. The problem for investors, as with most followers, is a problem of discernment. Which financial prophet has the gift of grace? Which has genuine charisma, genuine inspiration? And are we correct to think that extraordinary people possess an extraordinary understanding which explains their achievements? And if charisma is real, as Weber asserts, is it a permanent possession or something temporary? Certainly we cannot deny that Joan of Arc was an example of charismatic leadership, although her “voices” abandoned her prior to being burned as a witch. So even if we could recognize a genuinely inspired financial leader, how can we be sure he hasn’t suddenly lost his grace in the manner of Joan of Arc?

The wellspring of human creativity is from the soul, and the soul must remain a mystery. It is perhaps true that science is no better at predicting human action than shamanism. And so we are left to follow our own analysis of the economy or someone else’s. But who, in truth, follows their own analysis? Even our inspirations may ultimately come from outside ourselves (that is, if our inspirations are “genuine”).

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published on Financial Sense on July 15, 2013. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

American Anti-Intellectualism?

Iwon’t beat around the bush. I’ve known Russell Jacoby [ [2]] now a septuagenarian fixture at UCLA [3], for about twenty-five years. Both of us served on the editorial board of Telos magazine [4] and were present at some of the same board meetings. Jacoby always struck me as a lightweight, in contrast to most of the other editors, who were broadly educated and multilingual. I always knew he had some kind of cachet among Jewish-leftist magazine editors, but he was not in the same league as the others who were present at our board meetings—including the Jewish Marxists. [5]

A recent issue of The Chronicles of Education carried an article by Jacoby with the ominous headline: “Dreaming of a World with No Intellectuals” [6] (July 16, 2012). It is keyed to a new book, America-Lite: How American Academia Dismantled our Culture [7]by David Gelernter, Yale professor [8] of computer science, AEI fellow, maimed victim of the Unabomber [9], and a longtime favorite in neoconservative circles. [10]

Jacoby finds America-Lite dangerously anti-intellectual and conflates it with what he claims is the GOP’s relentless crusade against intellectuality.

I find Jacoby’s article/ review snobbish, rhetorical and insubstantial. But I also think it reflects the continuing drive by Leftist gatekeepers to present the followers of Leo Strauss [11] as the “serious,” socially-acceptable conservatives. And, tellingly, I note that Jacoby does not scruple to insinuate that Gelernter’s analysis is pervaded by anti-Semitism, although Gelernter himself is a very observant Jew.

One last relevant bit of information: The Chronicles of Higher Education doggedly rejected every request (there was more than one) that it review my book Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal [12]. (See VDARE.com discussions here and here [13] and here [14]). The editors no doubt threw my expensive work into the trash bin, after shredding it.

Since they, like the editors of the New York Times, have displayed intense interest in Strauss and his disciples, this rebuff may seem surprising. Of course, it’s not.

Jacoby was commissioned by CHE to write his self-important sermon for the same reason that my book was unceremoniously pushed aside: The editors want to tell their readers what they think is good for them to know—rather than to confuse them with non-authorized versions.

Jacoby has written a widely on intellectuals. (The Last Intellectuals [15]) But his operative term refers to nothing more significant than those who share his not very distinctive Leftist politics.

It is clear, however, whom Jacoby would not accept as friendly to “intellectuals” as he understands the term, starting with Christians who allegedly reject modern science [16]. (Or at least that part of science that Leftists are permitted to embrace—their fanatical race denial [17] in the teeth of mounting evidence to the contrary is, in fact, the salient case of anti-intellectualism [18] in modern American intellectual life).

Jacoby also includes those who supported the Bush administration, and anyone who questions the merit of having women seeing themselves primarily as wage-earners and professionals.

Needless to say, none of these pariahs would ever be invited to a soirée attended by the author.

Jacoby never succeeds in proving his doubtful contentions. He simply states his opinions, which become valid by virtue of the fact that “intellectuals” in Jacoby’s circle hold them.

For example, he tells us that women have “entered the work force and—as some conservatives say—abandoned the family.” According to Jacoby, this economic-social change has to do “with the realities of war, say, in which men leave their jobs and women replace them” and apparently with something else which for Jacoby is axiomatic, “with the imperative of supporting a family when one paycheck no longer suffices.”

Who are all these conservatives (Heavens knows I haven’t met them) who are trying to get women to return to Küche, Kirche und Kinder? [19] Are men going off to fight wars in such numbers that their wives have to take their jobs to make ends meet? What proof do we have of this?

And as far as I know, the Rosie Riveters [20] of World War Two [21] didn’t stay in the work force but typically returned to domestic duties after their husbands were demobilized.

As for the “imperative” of women working because “one paycheck no longer suffices,” my question is “suffices for what?” In the 1950s, [22] when women generally stayed at home, nobody starved because of that decision, although the disposable income of a family of four was considerably lower than it is now, and so was the standard of living. If women today work outside the home, it’s not to avoid sinking to a subsistence living level but because American consumers want a more affluent lifestyle t [23]han they had fifty or sixty years ago.

Besides, a majority of women no longer find home-making and child-rearing to be socially acceptable, unless they can also be commercially or professionally active. But this is a cultural choice, not one driven in most cases by stark poverty.

Lest anyone think that Jacoby cannot imagine civilized conservatives, who are not “anti-intellectual,” he begins his tract by naming nice guys and one nice gal: “Edmund Burke [24], Leo Strauss, Gertrude Himmelfarb [25], Harvey Mansfield, Wilfred M. McClay” are all “conservative thinkers” who have “championed scholarship, learning, and history.”

But the first figure, Burke, falls immediately from grace: Jacoby tears into him for making snide references to social dreamers [26] in Reflections on the Revolution in France.

(Another apparent hero of Jacoby, Wilfred McClay, [27] is a kind, tactful scholar and close friend of mine. Bill has never given offense, to my knowledge, to anyone on this planet. But nor is he someone who would raise deeply divisive questions in a public forum).

What immediately leaps out about the rest of the list: Mansfield, Himmelfarb, her late husband Irving Kristol [28], and their son Bill [29], have all been big fans of the Straussians—proof of the link, for Jacoby, between being a Straussian and being an acceptable “conservative” intellectual.

For liberal intellectuals, Straussians are acceptable because they and the Straussians are socially, ethnically, and to some extent politically alike. They all dwell on the ever-present danger of anti-Semitism (which David Gelernter apparently doesn’t care about) and also agonize over the Holocaust, which really didn’t end in 1945, but which continues to shape political and cultural attitudes here [30] and in Europe.

Jacoby denounces Mitt Romney’s griping that, in his words, “Obama spent too much time at Harvard” [31] and also Rick Santorum’s concern that expanding college education to more adolescents will simply enable them to be “indoctrinated by liberal professors.” [32] He claims that Gelernter has given respectability to this anti-intellectualism by describing how liberals were able to “take command of higher education and derail America.” Jacoby’s summary:

America progressed smoothly from Presidents George Washington [33] through Dwight D. Eisenhower [34], but went to hell in the 1960s and has yet to recover. Radicals have taken over the universities and spread their poison.

Jacoby is particularly concerned that Gelernter dares to note, in Jacoby’s paraphrase, that “obnoxious leftist Jews have taken over elite higher education.” According to Jacoby, Gelernter makes this accusation with “enthusiasm untempered by facts” and even has the temerity to quote Norman Podhoretz [35] as a “source.” Gelernter, Jacoby complains, falsely associates Jewish leftists with the “more thrusting, belligerent tone” that has come to dominate American academic life.

I really wonder whether Jacoby is dumb enough to believe this [36], or whether it is an exercise in Political Correctness. A slew of studies are available, going from the (in my opinion) nasty but heavily documented [37] studies of Kevin MacDonald [38] to the sociological work of Stanley Rothman [39], that highlight the noticeable Jewish contribution to the radicalization of American universities.

I would also call attention to a dissertation recently accepted at Cambridge University and submitted by a young friend of mine, David Verbeeten, on the role played by specifically Eastern European Jews in radicalizing American Jewish culture.

Verbeeten shows that Jewish philanthropic organizations in the US were given a decidedly leftist edge in the 1930s and 1940s as Eastern European Jews [40] replaced an older German Jewish leadership [41]. The newcomers pushed Jewish organizations into promoting socialist and later multicultural agendas, over the objections of their predecessors. American Jewish civic and professional elites, Verbeeten notes, were generally conservative and followed the WASP upper class before this fateful changing of the guard occurred.

Jacoby’s attempt to counter the obvious by pointing to the relative tranquility of Brandeis University [42] as proof that a college can be founded by Jews without thereafter becoming known for its radicalism.

But Brandeis from all accounts is conventionally leftist—hardly a bastion of educational traditionalists. Moreover, predominantly Jewish universities attract the Orthodox as well as the more numerous secular Jews. [43] These Orthodox students and professors are more typically neoconservatives than standard leftists in their politics.

Finally, Jewish leftist academics now have the luxury of going anywhere they have well-placed allies. They need not confine their “thrusting, belligerent tone” to a Jewish enclave in the Eastern suburbs of Boston.

Someone recently joked with me that if Jacoby was looking for a Jewish academic who would contradict Gelernter’s alleged stereotype, he might have cited me! Of course, Jacoby would never want it to be known that he’s acquainted with me or my work. But, for his convenience, my VDARE.com work is available here [1].



Source URL: http://www.vdare.com/articles/american-anti-intellectualism-russell-jacoby-david-gelernter-and-the-anti-semitic-canard

[1] http://www.vdare.com/users/paul-gottfried
[2] mailto:
[3] http://www.history.ucla.edu/people/faculty?lid=827
[4] http://www.telospress.com/main/index.php?main_page=index&zenid=d3264cade4e79b65bf32557d8d1b7647
[5] http://www.vdare.com/articles/some-other-memories-of-madison-and-the-new-left
[6] http://chronicle.com/article/Dreaming-of-a-World-Without/132813/
[7] http://www.amazon.com/America-Lite-Imperial-Academia-Dismantled-Obamacrats/dp/1594036063/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vd0b-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
[8] http://www.cs.yale.edu/people/gelernter.html
[9] http://bigthink.com/ideas/19763
[10] http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmConservative-2007jul02-00033
[11] http://www.vdare.com/articles/leo-strauss-immigration-and-israel
[12] http://www.amazon.com/Leo-Strauss-Conservative-Movement-America/dp/1107017246/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vd0b-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
[13] http://www.vdare.com/articles/paul-gottfrieds-leo-strauss-and-the-conservative-movement-in-america-whats-behind-the-crack
[14] http://www.vdare.com/articles/leo-strauss-immigration-enthusiast
[15] http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Intellectuals-Russell-Jacoby/dp/0465036252/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vd0b-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
[16] http://www.vdare.com/articles/making-a-monkey-out-of-darwin
[17] http://www.vdare.com/articles/the-left-doesnt-like-darwin-either
[18] http://www.vdare.com/posts/anti-intellectualism-in-american-academic-life
[19] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/19/germany-children-birthrate-lowest
[20] http://www.nps.gov/rori/index.htm
[21] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xVuRotcUl8
[22] http://www.vdare.com/articles/did-pre-mlk-america-really-need-redemption
[23] http://www.vdare.com/articles/bad-schools-immigration-and-the-great-middle-class-massacre
[24] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/%22Edmund%20Burke%22
[25] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/Gertrude%20Himmelfarb
[26] http://www.bartleby.com/24/3/8.html#185
[27] http://www.eppc.org/scholars/scholarID.71/scholar.asp
[28] http://www.vdare.com/articles/kristol-confesses-neoconservatism-is-not-conservative
[29] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/Bill%20Kristol
[30] http://www.vdare.com/articles/americas-immigration-policy-hitlers-revenge
[31] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/mitt-romney-obama-harvard_n_1405723.html
[32] http://www.mediaite.com/tv/santorum-doubles-down-on-education-remarks-liberal-indoctrination-is-encouraged-at-many-colleges/
[33] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/George%20Washington
[34] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/Eisenhower
[35] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/Norman%20Podhoretz
[36] http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-prestige-of-ignorance-what-russell-jacoby-doesnt-know
[37] http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/books.htm
[38] http://www.vdare.com/users/kevin-macdonald
[39] http://www.vdare.com/search/node/Stanley%20Rothman
[40] http://www.amazon.com/The-Rest-Us-Americas-European/dp/0815606141/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vd0b-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
[41] http://www.amazon.com/Our-Crowd-Jewish-Families-History/dp/0815604114/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vd0b-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
[42] http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-past-is-another-country-they-say-things-differently-there
[43] http://www.vdare.com/articles/race-realism-good-for-the-jews-good-for-america
[44] mailto:
[45] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=vdare&creative=9325&camp=211189&link_code=as2&path=ASIN/0691059837
[46] http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?link_code=ur2&tag=vdare&camp=1789&creative=9325&location=/gp/product/0826214177/
[47] http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?link_code=ur2&tag=vdare&camp=1789&creative=9325&location=/gp/product/0826215971/
[48] http://www.amazon.com/Leo-Strauss-Conservative-Movement-America/dp/1107017246/r?_encoding=UTF8&tag=vdare&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325


Paul_GottfriedDr. Paul Gottfried is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was oiginally published at Vdare.com on August 6, 2012.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

The Condition of Brazilian Higher Education

On July 23, 2013 the President of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought, Olavo de Carvalho, delivered a lecture on the current condition of Brazilian Higher Education at the Leadership Institute, Arlington, VA. Watch the lecture below.


The Condition of Brazilian Higher Education

I am aware that the presence of educators and speakers of various nationalities at this conference would suggest to me the convenience of speaking about universal and borderless themes. However, the situation of education in Brazil has become so dire that it barely can be understood by foreign observers. A sense of urgency, then, impels me to breach etiquette and address Brazilians more directly than others here present.

Since we are all gathered in this place to meditate on the ends and means of education in a serious manner, I would like to start my speech by making a vow: may God forbid and keep my speech from going beyond what I can personally do. The easiest and cheapest thing in the world for an educator to do is to propose grandiose and even universally comprehensive goals and purposes, which he will never bring about and whose results he will never be held accountable for. Ninety percent of those who are praised as pioneers, reformers, and revolutionaries of politics, education, or thought are prophets of the imponderable, that scum of mankind who have always had the prudence to withdraw from this low world before their beautiful proposals have been transformed into the depressing and often bloody realities that they foretell.

The first thing that should be required of any educator is that he knows precisely whom he intends to educate, for how long he needs to educate his students, and what are the evaluation criteria with which he will gauge the success or failure of his venture. Virtually none of those who are today lauded as great educators pass this test. Neither Paulo Freire, nor Jean Piaget, nor Vygostky, nor Emilia Ferreiro. The disastrous results of socio-constructivism are already so old and so widely known as the very idea that generated them, and yet the prestige of this school does not seem to have been shaken in the least, precisely because the public has become used to the contemporary idea that what one should expect from an educator is not that he educates people, but rather that he helps them “change the world.”

People’s mindset has been so imbued with the cult of universal change that nowadays there is virtually no person who does not follow, unconsciously at least, the maxim of that greatest prince of elegant stupidity who was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “A new untruth is better than an old truth.”

The greatest of all educators, Socrates, never made plans for global education nor ever thought about pre-formatting the minds of future generations, but he merely confined himself to educating those who were within his reach, that is, a single generation, a small circle of students, out of which emerged two other great philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, whose teaching still continues to educate us today.

So, God forbid that I should create any educational project which I cannot personally carry out and whose results I cannot myself evaluate during the course of my life.

Accordingly, any education project that I might dare to subscribe should be a provisional response to a given situation and not a model to be imitated per omnia seculae saeculorum. The immediate problem that my personal educational project attempted to tackle is the complete debacle of university education in Brazil. Of course, there is not a single country in the world in which people do not talk about a similar debacle, but we must be careful not to be misled by the use of the same word to qualify different situations. For the word “debacle” just describes a generic quality and does not convey an idea of the extent of the problem, and it is in the quantitative aspect of the collapse of its higher education that Brazil goes beyond the imagination of those who complain of the poor state of university education in their own countries. Maybe you can have a better idea of Brazil’s state of things in education when you know the fact that my native country, having more university professors per capita than any other nation, and now having virtually no children out of school, produces students who usually rank last in international education tests. Not coincidentally, Brazil is also a country in which all public discussion about education always revolves around funding and investments, without educational contents and techniques ever becoming a discussion point—consequently, one must infer that, to the Brazilian national imagination, money must have some educational power in itself, transcending human agency. Even more characteristic of the Brazilian mind of today is the fact that our former president, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has become an object of general admiration not because he has risen from a poor background thanks to a cultural improvement he achieved through his own effort, but precisely because he managed to climb up the social ladder with no cultural improvement at all. People even compared him to Abraham Lincoln, but the contrast could not be greater between the poor axeman who developed intellectually to become one of the best writers of the English language and the man who distinguished himself rather by his physical transfiguration of a bearded and tattered poor man into an elegant figure with polished nails and dressed in sumptuous Armani suits than for any remarkable progress he made to overcome his original illiteracy. Brazil’s history is laden with poor people who acquired an education through their own effort and rose, by their own intellectual merits, far above their original station in life. I would even say that they preponderate numerically over the notable men of the upper class. The public prestige of Mr. Luiz Inácio is, in this sense, a most significant sociological phenomenon because it indicates a radical change in the judging criterion employed to evaluate the social rise of the humble. Previously, the value of an education acquired by one’s own merits prevailed over the hierarchy of social positions, but the success of Mr. Lula shows that this judgment has been reversed: being in high places is valued in itself, much more than any effort of self-education.

I mention this phenomenon because, more than any other, it denotes the mental state of affairs in contemporary Brazil. The worship of high places, coupled with the most arrogant contempt for knowledge, has become the general rule. In Brazil, a person is no longer required to have made discoveries, created works, and generated great ideas to be acknowledged as an intellectual and an educator of the masses. Rather, what is required of him is that he has occupied civil service positions, held the offices in the public administration, been a member of government commissions; in short, what counts is not who he is in terms of the substance of his creative and thinking person, but in terms of his place in the state bureaucracy.

I began documenting this state of things in my 1995 book The Collective Imbecile: Brazilian Uncultural News. But since then the situation has worsened so formidably that it can no longer be described in a comic and satiric key as it was in that book. Public stupidity has grown to the point where it has become fearful. It has established itself as a form of power which can impose upon a whole generation of students the most complete ineptitude as an essential regulatory obligation.

Because of this state of things, in 2005 I created an online Philosophy Seminar, which today has about three thousand students from all over Brazil and also some other countries. Based on the final projects I have received so far I am sure that these students, whom I asked to refrain from any public activity until they are properly prepared for it, are already an intellectual elite incomparably superior to that which has come out of Brazilian universities and occupied the most important positions in the media, education, and the publishing industry.

Never have I thought about educating other people than those who fell within my reach through the Philosophy Seminar . Nor do I have suggestions about the teaching of subjects which are outside my field of expertise. My students are being educated in the fields of literature, philosophy, and social sciences, precisely those which have been most affected after four decades of absolute rule of the semi-illiterate mandarinate.

However, from this limited experience I can draw some conclusions which may be useful to other people who have the intention of becoming educators.

The first is that the contempt for knowledge in Brazil has always been coupled with the worship of outward signs which stand for knowledge and which, seemingly with some advantage, replace it: degrees, diplomas, titles, honors, media space, good connections in high circles, and so on and so forth. The phenomenon has been so widely documented and satirized in our best fiction literature (Lima Barreto and Graciliano, for example) that I see no need to insist on it.

But the worst is that a circle of mutual reinforcement between those two complementary vices was formed a long time ago, and this circle seems impossible to break .

It works like this: since our business and political elite is not exactly well educated, the well-meaning souls who emerge from it having the laudable purpose of remedying the national evils are by themselves unable to distinguish—through a direct examination of works and ideas—between who is competent and who is an eminent airhead among the available intellectuals. As a result, they will have to judge them by outward signs—those darn titles and positions—and they will end up giving heed to those who have nothing important to tell them nor useful to suggest. Unculture generates unculture with the fertility of a couple of rabbits.

This becomes even worse when a deceiving prestige comes from abroad, landing in Brazil with all the pomp and ceremony suited to “the most modern thing of all.” In the Vargas administration, a beautiful project of popular education ended up taking as model the ideas of John Dewey, then very celebrated by the American media as a great innovator. Today it is known that Dewey was, in fact, the destroyer of the American education, which until then was the best in the world. From 1960s onwards—during the military dictatorship in Brazil—, social constructivism became fashionable, being adorned with names such as Jean Piaget, Emilia Ferrero, Vygotsky, and many others. For half a century the application of this nonsensical theory has brutalized the minds of our children with admirable constancy, at the same time that the triumphal expansion of the number of schools and the increasingly centralized control of national education has spread the democratization of ineptitude to the farthest corners and the poorest people of the country.

And why do these things happen? Because Brazil’s uneducated elite goes along with the media and the volatile prestige of the cultural celebrities of the day instead of examining and testing their ideas. And by doing so our elite only heaps up errors and disasters with an obscene persistence.

Whoever notices this phenomenon cannot but conclude that Brazil’s chief educational problem is precisely the opposite of what people usually say it is. That is to say, our problem is not that we have educated the elite and left the people behind, but rather that we have tried to provide education to all the people before we have a qualified elite to educate them, or even to seriously examine the problem of popular education.

Anyone who has been a teacher at least for a day immediately realizes that the educational process has a radiating structure: first you educate ten people, who in turn will go on and educate a hundred people, who in turn will educate a thousand people, who in turn will educate one million, and so on and so forth. To reverse this order is like wanting children to generate their parents. The rulers of this country have promised education to millions of people before they have been able to gather together ten serious educators to discuss how they are going to do this. Why not educate the first ten people? And to those who may object that this is right-wing elitism, I recommend they read Lenin and ask themselves why he organized the Communist party’s elite first and then the mass. Lenin knew that the tail does not wag the dog.

How to break the vicious circle of an uneducated elite guided by amateurs as inept as itself ?

In my view, there is only one way: we have to raise, outside the official educational system, far from the mainstream media, far from long-established prestige, a new, sincere, and well-prepared class of intellectuals, who, moreover, must be aggressive enough to, in due course, behead airheads, expel sacred cows, and start dealing with problems in a serious manner.

A second conclusion is that a government can only define “programs,” “methods,” budgets, that is, the more external and insubstantial aspects of education. None of these abstract universals has the ability to go into the classroom and guide the souls and minds of students towards their better development. The teacher’s personality is all. You can ask any student of any grade about it. Some teachers make deep impressions on students and have an almost hormonal influence on their intellectual and human growth, others are justly forgotten after a few years, and still others become traumatic obstacles to any conceivable progress.

The problem here is somewhat the same as everywhere else: the problem of human quality. Governments are so helpless about it that sometimes the worst regimes in the world raise, by the power of suffering, the best personalities; and as soon as conditions improve, the souls settle down and deteriorate.

The raising of better individuals can only come from society itself, from spontaneous cultural initiative. Religious organizations, neighborhood associations and clubs, labor unions, community centers can do a lot about it, provided that they are not committed to any political agenda aimed at standardizing minds to use them as pawns. In Brazil, to find a civic association which is free of this commitment has become increasingly difficult.

Finally, there remains the problem of home education. In Brazil, the permanent state of social and economic insecurity leads parents, in their desire to seek an immediate guarantee of livelihood for their children, to deliberately turn their kids into mediocre human beings, inducing them to get an education only to be able to pass civil service exams, instead of promoting the development of their intelligence to reach more ambitious goals in the long term. A good intention deformed by fear is no longer a good intention and becomes a deforming prosthesis. I have observed this phenomenon in virtually all Brazilian families I have met.

A little bit of educational experience shows that the desire for premature social adaptation can cripple a mind and severely limit the very prospects for social ascension. People do not come with their vocations stamped on their foreheads, nor with a manual where they can find out in advance their most promising talents. But what is absolutely certain is that one can only be successful in those things which reflect one’s deepest innate talents. A teenager who dreams of trying his hand at sports, fine arts, or any profession which seems exotic to his family—like a career in the merchant marine, in polar expeditions, or animal caretaking—can easily be induced to failure if his parents impose upon him choices which seem more “realistic” in a limited and mediocre mental atmosphere. I dare say that this is one of the most widespread causes of human failure in Brazil.

If you think your child is a moron who cannot survive in a field of free choice and without the crutches of a depressing government job, it would have been better if you had not generated him, or if you had given him to be raised by a more optimistic family.

Besides, what help can the Brazilian government offer in such matters if it is itself predominantly staffed with inept people for whom the epithet “mediocre” would even be a compliment?

To the present Brazilian government, as to most of its Latin American counterparts, the new generations are but instruments for the implementation of nominally saving policies which despise the present generation in the name of an elusive and unattainable future. I say “unattainable” not only because they are unrealizable in practice, but because their conception is already infected with the promise of endless deferral. Every revolutionary politics, which aims to reshape the world in its image and likeness, begins by denying all higher values in order to be able to establish its own values, which implies that a revolutionary politics cannot accept any judge superior to itself. This is why only the “permanent revolution” exists, that is, the pursuit of goals which have neither a definition nor a deadline to be achieved, so that the revolutionary work might never be judged but might always keep pushing itself further into the future so that it might perpetuate its condition of sole judge of all things.

The third and final conclusion relates to the difference between education and instruction. To instruct a student is simply to pass on to him a set of procedures, habits, techniques, and even mental tics that the teacher has received ready-made. The Department of Education should be called the Department of Instruction, because every educational activity whose model comes from above and is uniformly imposed to an entire population is only instruction. Education, as the etymology of the word implies, has something to do with opening the eyes of the student so that he might see the larger world around him, and he might see it with his own individual and intransferable eyes, without anybody imprisoning him in a preexisting framework. Clearly, if instruction can be a social activity performed by a collectivity of technicians, education, in the sense that I understand it, must be a deep connection between the soul of the teacher and the soul of the student, a relationship that imitates on a smaller and limited scale the relationship between father and son. Thus, it is clear that the teacher has to convey to the student, rather than this or that particular piece of knowledge, a certain inspiration, a power, an enthusiasm, and a love for the search for the truth. And it is also clear that no one can give what he himself does not have. True education is a laborious and late result of the effort of self-education, which takes place in the soul of the educator and precedes education.

These considerations, however, are so far above the current state of affairs in Brazilian education that I do not see any way to put them into action except in small groups, without any illusion of interfering in the present state of things, but preparing, perhaps, a better future.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This lecture was delivered at the Leadership Institute, in Arlington, VA, on July 23, 2013. The original text for the lecture was translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

The Terrorrist Puzzle

Terrorists have killed American citizens once again. The chief suspects are listed as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, brothers aged 26 and 19 respectively. They are Muslims from Russia who, according to authorities, detonated two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, 15 April. President Barack Obama said that whoever did the bombing will “feel the full weight of justice.” Since that statement Boston police have killed Tamerlan and captured Dzhokhar.

An air of controversy is building about the suspects, even now. An “Op-Edge” analysis piece published by Russia Today claims “that very little clarity surrounds the case.” There are questions as to how the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, “could walk out of the boat he was hiding in … with a throat wound that he is now almost dying from.” Russia’s official media says the suspects originated from Kyrgyzstan, in the town of Tormok, which is ethnically Chechen. Back in Russia, the father of the accused brothers says that his sons are being framed.

According to Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles of April 22, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was arrested and possibly convicted for domestic violence in 2009. According to a Judicial Watch source, the Obama administration could have deported Tamerlan “but evidently didn’t feel he represented a big enough threat.” Years ago, we read, “Judicial Watch uncovered critical intelligence documents detailing Al Qaeda’s activities in Chechnya, including the creation of a 1995 camp – ordered by Osama bin Laden – to train ‘international terrorists’ to carry out plots against Americans and westerners.”

The Russian twist on the alleged Boston bombers is especially interesting because this same training camp in Dagestan was mentioned by Russian KGB/FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko, who said it was a KGB/FSB-sponsored camp for training terrorist agents and Al Qaeda leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri (who was referred to by Litvinenko as a longtime KGB agent). Following his revelations of the KGB’s involvement in training top Al Qaeda leaders, Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210 in November 2006. During an interview with FrontPagMag’s Jamie Glazov, a friend of Litvinenko explained, “Alexander revealed … that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB….” Stroilov went on to say, “Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror.’ The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as an ally, it secretly supports and manipulates Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.”

In keeping with this theme, The Long War Journal has published a piece titled “Dagestani jihadist group issues statement on Boston bombings.” According to Vilyat Dagestan, an Islamic militant organization in Russia, “we are at war with Russia” and “not fighting against the United States of America.” Therefore, an attack by ethnic Chechens on the United States makes no sense whatsoever. If Americans want to discover the real organizers of the Boston explosions, argued the Vilyat Dagestan, “they should focus on the involvement of the Russian special services in the event.”

Quite naturally, U.S. officials have only just begun to investigate the Tsarnaev brothers and their Dagestan/Russian connections. It has been reported by NBC 4 New York that Tamerlan Tsarnaev “left New York on Jan. 12, 2012 for Sheremetyevo, Russia. He stayed overseas and returned to JFK [airport] on July 17.” What was the trip to Russia about? Why did the trip last six months, and who was Tamerlan with? Were the Tsarnaev brothers motivated by Islam? Or was there some other purpose?

Journalists are currently focused on the brother’s online activities. Time Magazine alleges that Tamerlan “appears to have created a channel on YouTube [click here] called Terrorists.” On this Website Tamerlan supposedly inserted a video of a Dagestani insurgent leader who says, “Jihad is the duty of every able-bodied Muslim.”

There are many angles to this case, but of special interest is Moscow’s attempt to warn the United States about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Readers are encouraged to study the April 19 National Press Release of the FBI, which states: “Once the FBI learned the identities of the two brothers today, the FBI reviewed its records and determined that in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer….” The FBI subsequently checked U.S. government databases, examined Tamerlan’s Internet activity, and interviewed Tamerlan along with unnamed “family members.” No evidence of “terrorism activity” was found.

It is possible the Tsarnaev brothers were two sadly confused young men, drawn to radical religious beliefs and violent jihadist activities. That seems the most obvious explanation. But where Russia is concerned investigators should be vigilant. Russia is a country of many mysteries, of real false flag terrorist operations like the Russian apartment bombings of September 1999. Nothing is straightforward where Russia is concerned.

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published on Financial Sense on April 22, 2013. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Know the History of the São Paulo Forum, the Most Powerful Political Organization in Latin America.

Below is a rough timeline for the history of the São Paulo Forum and the many articles and lectures Olavo de Carvalho has made available to the Brazilian and American public, blowing the whistle about the plans of the organization that was created by Fidel Castro and former Brazilian President Lula to gradually turn Latin America into a socialist bloc.

For more than 15 years, Olavo de Carvalho, philosopher, journalist, and President of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought single-handedly fought a battle to warn Brazilian and the international public about the plans and activities of the São Paulo Forum, an organization which gathers together politicians, presidents and congressmen,  intellectuals, political parties, and criminal organizations from more than 22 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean and whose goals include, in the words of Fidel Castro, “bringing the United States to its knees.”





During a meeting, which took place on January 8, 1989, Castro and leaders of the Brazilian Workers’ Party decided that if Luiz Inácio Lula da SIlva did not win the Brazilian presidential elections at the end of the year, they would establish an international organization to spearhead and coordinate the whole Latin American left and bring the United States to its knees, which was Castro’s life purpose, as he himself had stated many times. Knowing in advance about the fall of the Soviet Union, Castro foresaw that the future of the Communist revolution in Latin America would depend on unifying all left-wing parties, movements, legal and criminal organizations, and establish a supranational union on the continent, something that Hugo Chável would later name Union of Latin American Socialist Republics (in Spanish, URSAL).


The Chilean MIR (Movement of Revolutionary Left) kidnaps millionaire Brazilian businessman Abilio Diniz, keeps him prisoner for 6 days in a small room dug in the bottom of a well, and asks for a ransom of $30 million to fund its revolutionary activities against the Pinochet government.

In the first democratic elections in Brazil after 30 years of military dictatorship, the Workers’ Party emerges as a powerful political organization. However, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, its presidential candidate, lost in his first attempt to win the presidency, running against a somewhat unknown politician named Fernando Collor de Mello.

In the next year, both the Wokers’ Party, Lula, and the Chilean Mir will be dicussing strategies for the Latin American left at the first meeting of an organization which will be known as the São Paulo Forum.




Convened by the Brazilian Workers’ Party in the month of July, the São Paulo Forum is founded and presided over by Fidel Castro and former Brazilian president (but then defeated presidential candidate and leader of the Workers’ Party) Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, with the avowedly purpose, in Castro’s words, of “reconquering in Latin America the empire that has been lost in Eastern Europe.” The first meeting took place in the city of São Paulo—hence the name of the organization—and gathered together representatives of 42 leftist political organizations, parties, and movements from all throughout Latin America. Among its members are:

National Liberation Army (Colombia)

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

Alternative Democratic Pole in Colombia

Workers’ Party (Brazil)

Cuban Communist Party

MIR (Chile)

Broad Front (Uruguay)

Socialist Party (Chile)

United Left of Peru

Free Bolivia Movement

Socialist Movement of Bolivia

Ecuadorian Socialist Party

Fifth Republic Movement of Venezuela (now the United Socialist Party of Venezuela)

Party of Democratic Revolution (Mexico)

Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Nicaragua)

Guatemalan National Revolution Unit

Democratic Revolutionary Party of Panama

Lavalas Movement (Haiti)

In a document named “São Paulo Declaration,” the members of the Forum stated their goals, summarized their internal debates, and expressed their intention to “seek to advance agreed-upon proposals for taking unified action in the anti-imperialist and popular struggle.” From its inception the “Forum,” more than simply discussing issues and exchanging information, intends to plan, organize, and take action. Some paragraphs later, after proclaiming its rejection of a new form adopted by the old American imperialism, the members of the São Paulo Forum state that they seek to establish, “in contrast with the proposed integration under imperialist domination, the foundations of a new concept of unity and continental integration.”

Click here to read an English translation of the “São Paulo Declaration.”




The second meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Mexico City, from June 12th to 15th, assembling 68 participants from 22 countries from all over Latin America. The meeting is convened by Mexico’s Party of Democratic Revolution and also is attended by 12 political parties and organizations from Europe, Canada, and the United States.

The SPF reaffirms its commitment to fight “American imperialism” and “neo-liberal economic policies” in a public statement called “Mexico Declaration” and expresses that it considers as it primary “duty of solidarity” “the defense of the sovereignty of Cuba and the making of efforts to thwart the plans of the American imperialist power against the Cuban Revolution.”



The third meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Managua, Nicaragua, by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). 61 left-wing political parties and movements from 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries and 60 guest organizations from North American, Europe, Africa, and Asia participate in the meetings of the umbrella organization.






The fourth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Havana. The spearhead of the Communist revolution in Latin America has grown in number in the period of one year. Now counting with 112 member organizations, the 1993 Forum’s meeting is attended by 25 guest organizations from Latin American and 44 others coming from North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In its final declaration, the members of the São Paulo Forum renew their “condenation of the imoral and imperialist economic blockade agaisnt Cuba and make a committment to take serious political actions conducive to its lifting.”




Lula, president and founder of the São Paulo Forum, is the Workers’ Party presidential candidate for the second time, running against Fernando Henrique Cardoso, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. Cardoso received 44% of the votes against Lula’s 22%.



Olavo de Carvalho meets José Carlos Graça Wagner, an attorney from the city of São Paulo, who was the first man to research, document, and analyze the activities of the São Paulo Forum.


The fifth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Montevideo, Uruguay, gathering 65 delegations from Latin America, North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. As 1993 and 1994 were general election years in many of the countries in Latin America, and as many of the members of the São Paulo Forum participated in the elections in their respective countries, a critical assessment of the various electoral processes is one of the main topics of the fifth meeting.  To the Forum’s members, the 1993 and 1994 elections manifested “the best overall results that left-wing parties have obtained so far,” for “the political parties that are part of the São Paulo Forum have elected 300 Congressmen, 60 Senators, several governors, hundreds of mayors, thousands of city council members, totalling 25% of the electorate of their countries.”

Hugo Chávez, then recently released from jail for his attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government, travels to Montevideo to join the São Paulo Forum as a member.




The sixth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in San Salvador.




The seventh meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Brazilian Landless Movement (in Portuguese, MST) and the Workers’ Party were defined as arms of a single body, pursuing the revolution.




The eighth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Mexico City.

Lula, president and founder of the São Paulo Forum, is the Workers’ Party presidential candidate for the third time.




The ninth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Managua, Nicaragua.





Olavo de Carvalho first publicly mentions the São Paulo Forum in a foreword he wrote for A Face Oculta da Estrela: Retrocesso, Falsidade e Ilusões (The Hidden Face of the Star: Retrocess, Insincerity, and Illusions), a book by Adolpho João de Paula Coelho. In his foreword, titled “Making Essential Information Available Again,” after explaining what Antonio Gramsci’s strategy for cultural revolution is and how it has been successfully applied in Brazil, Carvalho points out that the goals of that strategy have been so well accomplished that, “today, it is in the assuredness, in the pompous and arrogant ease with which people who do not know anything about the subject assure us that Communism is a thing of the past while slavishly repeating Communist slogans (being unaware that they are Communist slogans) that lies the best guarantee that the plans announced by Fidel Castro at the São Paulo Forum will be conducted with the foolish complicity of millions of quiet and self-satisfied fools.”

Recolocando em circulação informações essenciais (Foreword to a book, May 15)

Making Essential Information Available Again





In an article titled “What crime?,” Olavo de Carvalho discusses the cultural and political reasons behind an attempt by a group of journalists and public prosecutors to block an investigation being conducted by the Brazilian Army into the connections between Brazilian left-wing movements and the FARC. According to Mr. de Carvalho, “If this [attempt] is not an act of revolutionary disinformation, in the best KGB style, then at least this is a substantial support that is offered, with prodigious unconsciousness and levity, to Fidel Castro’s plan of “reconquering in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe.” The “cultural revolution,” without encountering the the slightest resistance, has easily duped public opinion (after having numbed it for 40 years). So much so that the public now seem to take the allegations against the investigation at face value, without even wondering whether the crime under investigation is not a million times more serious than mere words, however offensive, found in an investigator’s report.”

Qual é o crime? (Jornal da Tarde, August 30)

What crime?



José Carlos Graça Wagner is interviewed by Diario Las Americas, a Miami newspaper, on the 2nd of September. Published on the first page, and titled “Nueva Guerra Fria en el continente dentro del marco del Foro de São Paulo” (A New Cold War in the Continent within the Framework of the São Paulo Forum), the interviewed brought explosive information about the plans of the São Paulo Forum for Latin America and the so-called Princeton Pact, an agreement between the São Paulo Forum and the Inter-American Dialogue, a United States based think tank, in which both organizations decided to work together on a number of common goals for the Latin American left, among which were (a) the transformation of guerrillas into regular political parties, (b) the weakening of the military of the various Latin American countries, and (c) the crippling of the Catholic Church through Liberation Theology, since it was foreseeable that the Church would strongly oppose abortion rights and gay marriage.



The tenth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Havana and gathers together 518 representatives of left-wing movements and parties from 81 countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, North American, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Middle East. In a declariation issued at the end of the meeting, the members of the organization state that Cuba is a setting of “a high symbolic value, because of what that country represents for the left of the continent, because of its dignity, as an example of resistance and because of its steadfast commitment to the principles that guide the Forum.”


On December 5, The Orlando Sentinel publishes a brief story (“Leftists Open Havana Meeting”) about the 2001 meeting of the São Paulo Forum in Havana. The note says that “hundreds of left-wing politicians and activists from across Latin America began a four-day meeting in Havana on Tuesday in a bid to unite their efforts against U.S. and capitalist influence around the world. Cuban President Fidel Castro joined 400 delegates at the opening of the 10th meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum.”

Leftists Open Havana Meeting


Also in the same month, the Minuteman Institute for National Defense Studies publishes a “strategic warning” about the São Paulo Forum in which it is stated that:  “The member organizations of the Sao Paulo Forum include several that are on the U.S. State Department’s list of active terrorist groups, including the Colombian FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombiana) and ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional); the Peruvian MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) and the Chilean MIR. In addition to the groups listed below, Granma Internacional, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, is reporting the attendance of Zuhair Dhaif, head of the Latin America Division of the Iraqi Baathist Party, and an unnamed Libyan representative at the Tenth Session of the Sao Paulo Forum in Havana.”

Strategic Warning: São Paulo Forum



On the 22nd, The Weekly Standard publishes “Brazil’s Nut,” an article by Dr. Constantine C. Menges in which he discusses Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s ties with Castro and Latin American terrorrist organizations and the significance fo the American national security of his likely victory in the October 2002 presidential election. Among other things, Dr. Menges states that “Da Silva’s Workers’ Party has a history of extreme leftism and anti-market policies. Though da Silva has tried to moderate his image, this is clearly an electoral deception. The Workers’ Party’s candidate said recently, “our objectives continue to be the same, but the methods, the manner in which we reach that goal, have changed.” We can believe that the Workers’ Party will be consistent in its anti-market, anti-American ideology and purposes.”

Brazil’s Nut (The Weekly Standard, July 22, 2002)



On August 2, 2002, Dr. Constantine C. Menges a senior foreign policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and one of the architects of Ronald Reagan’s effort to defeat the Soviet Union, publishes an article about the São Paulo Forum in The Washington Times. In his piece “Blocking a New Axis of Evil,” Dr. Menges says that the then Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da SIlva “makes no secret of his sympathies. He has been an ally of Mr. Castro for more than 25 years. With Mr. Castro’s support, Mr.da Silva founded the Sao Paulo Forum in 1990 as an annual meeting of communist and other radical terrorist and political organizations from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. This has been used to coordinate and plan terrorist and political activities around the world and against the United States. The last meeting was held in Havana, Cuba in December 2001. It involved terrorists from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and sharply condemned the Bush administration and its actions against international terrorism.”

Blocking a New Axis of Evil



In an article titled “Harvest Time,” Olavo de Carvalho comments on the fact that nobody among the Brazilian political analysts and commentators has established any connection between the activities of the São Paulo Forum and the coming Brazilian presidential elections, in which all four main candidates share the same leftist ideology. Nobody but Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff who, being full of high hopes for a future Communist Brazil, praises the new political reality of the nation by saying that with the coming election: “The time for the Brazilian revolution has arrived. The sowing has already been done. Now it is harvest time.”

A hora da colheita (“Harvest Time,” O Globo, September 7)

Harvest Time

Terrorisms and Globalisms (Zero Hora, September 8, 2002)


Dr. Constantine C. Menges sends a letter to Olavo de Carvalho in which he agrees with the Brazilian philosopher’s analysis of the São Paulo Forum.

Letter from Constantine C. Menges to Olavo de Carvalho (September 19)



On October 3, 2002, The Washington Times publishes an article about the São Paulo Forum by Deroy Murdock, a Senior Fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. “Brewing in Brazil” is an interview with Dr. Constantine C. Menges in which Dr. Menges discusses the likely victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the presidential elections, his appetite for atomic bombs, his support of terrorism, his admiration for Hugo Chávez, and, last but not least, his role in the São Paulo Forum.

Brewing in Brazil


On the 15th, Lowell Phillips, a free-lance writer, political commentator, and associate editor of Toogood Reports, publishes an article in which he expresses his concerns about the likely victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the presidential run-off elections in Brazil. A Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis could pose threats to American national security, especially through the São Paulo Forum: “There is likely a considerable Cuban intelligence effort ongoing to see to it that Luiz Inacio da Silva does indeed become the next president of Brazil. Da Silva’s links to the Cuban dictator are well established. Along with Castro, he helped to create the Forum of Sao Paulo, which gathers representatives from communist, terrorist, and other revolutionary organizations annually to develop strategies against the United States and methods of securing power in their respective countries. Meetings draw emissaries from all points on the globe of varying philosophies, joined by their common hostility towards the U.S., and have included delegates from Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party.” And he adds: “The growth of the Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis could create massive problems for the U.S. That axis armed with nuclear weapons would radically alter the global power structure. A Castro-led, Marxist-inspired Latin America with a credible nuclear deterrence, allied with Communist China, Middle Eastern terror organizations and their sponsors, along with South American narco-terrorists would constitute a greater danger to the United States than the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War. The recklessness of the players, the wildly divergent objectives and the historic instability of the region would be a volatile mix.”

Marxist-Inspired Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis Could Create Massive Problems for U.S. (Toogoodreports.com, October 15, 2002)


Olavo de Carvalho publishes the following articles on the Brazilian press:

Entrevista com o meu vizinho (“Interview With My Neighbor,” Zero Hora, October 6)

Qualquer coisa e o Sr. Summa (“Anything and Mr. Summa,” O Globo, October 19)

A vitória do partido único (“The Victory of the Single Party,” Jornal da Tarde, October 21)


On October 27, the Workers’ Party candidate and co-founder of the São Paulo Forum,  Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wins the run-off and is elected president of Brazil for the first time.



Luiz Felipe Alencastro, columnist of the prestigious Brazilian magazine Veja and professor of Brazilian History at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, participates in a pannel discussion, along with Kenneth R. Maxwell, Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Inter-American Studies and CFR’s Director Latin of America Studies, on the topic of “Brazil: Political and Economic Challenges Facing the President-elect and the Implications for U.S. Policy in Latin America” held at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washignton, DC, on October 30, 2002. Answering a question posed by a member of the audience about the relations between the Brazilian Workers’ Party and the São Paulo Forum, Professor Alencastro says:  “We never heard about this Foro de São Paulo in Brazil. We don’t know about it, and it’s crazy how that thing grow up and became, that’s one journalist known as a guy very conservative from extreme right, who writes in a weekly in Rio, who started with that thing. We never heard about that.” Maxwell, on the other hand, does acknowledge the existence of the São Paulo Forum: “Of course, that there is a forum, I mean, and there was a meeting in Havana late last year, where, I think, Lula went and Castro was and so on. And there have been these connections. The part of the extreme, but the landless workers movement has enormous connections internationally on the left.”



Olavo de Carvalho publishes more articles on the São Paulo Forum on three different Brazilian newspapers:

Lula e lulas (“The Many Faces of Mr. Lula,”O Globo, November 2)

O excelentíssimo (“His Excellency,” Zero Hora, November 3)

Escolha temível (“Fearful Choice,” O Globo,November 15)

Resumo da encrenca (“Summary of Our Trouble,” Folha de São Paulo, November 18)

Mentiras concisas (“Concise Lies,” O Globo, November 23)



The eleventh meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Antigua, Guatemala.


Olavo de Carvalho publishes one article about the Forum in the newspaper O Globo:

Metamorfoses ambulantes (“Walking Metamorphoses,” O Globo, December 9)




Os minutos finais de um justo (“The Last Minutes of a Just Man,” O Globo, March 8)



Transparent Roofs (Folha de São Paulo, April 28)



Quem pode contra isso? (“Who Can Take this On?,” O Globo, June 23)



Honra temível (“Fearful Honor,” O Globo, August 30)




The Minuteman Institute for National Defense Studies publishes another “strategic warning” written by Dr. Constantine C. Menges. “Strategic Warning: Brazil” is the complete paper out of which  “Brazil’s Nut,” an artilcle Dr. Menges wrote for The Weekly Standard in July 2002, originated.

A Strategic Warning: Brazil


Olavo de Carvalho’s article:

Simbiose Obscena (“Obscene Symbiosis,” O Globo, February 7)



Mundo paralelo (“Parallel World,” O Globo, March 5)



Falsas Omissões (“False Omissions,” O Globo, May 1)



Desinformação colossal (“Colossal Disinformation,” Zero Hora, July 11)

Desculpe, Dr. Menges (“I Apologize for My Fellow Brazilians, Mr. Menges,” O Globo, July 2004)



Nada é o que é (“Nothing Is What It Is,” Zero Hora, November 14)

Repetindo o aviso (“Repeating a Warning,” Zero Hora, November 28)




Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, o sábio da Veja (“Luiz Felipe Alencastro, the Sage of Veja Magazine,” February 2005)



Recado ao general (“Message to an Army General,”O Globo, March 19)



The twelfth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in São Paulo, Brazil.



Obviedades temíveis (“Dreadful Obvieties,” Diário do Comércio, August 1)



Aí vem tudo de novo (“Here Comes Everything Again,” Zero Hora, September 4)

Brazilian Left: From Victory to Defeat to Victory Again (A brief presentation delivered at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Washington D.C., September 15)

President Lula, guilty by confession (Diário do Comércio, September 26)

Apelo público (“A Public Appeal,” September)



São Paulo Forum: The Backbone of Communism and Terrorism Spread in Latin America (Aleksander Boyd Interviews Olavo de Carvalho, VCrisis, November 21)




Neocommunist Rise: The São Paulo Forum and the Strategical Unity of the Latin-American Left (Presentation delivered at the Intelligence Summit 2006,Arlington, VA, February 17 to 20)



Um negócio quase honesto (“An Almost Honest Business,” April 13)



O dever que nos espera (“The Duty Awaiting Us,” Diário do Comércio, May 15)

Brazil: The Usual and Not-So-Usual Suspects (FrontPageMagazine, May 22)



Por trás da subversão (“Behind Subversion,” Diário do Comércio, June 5)

Apelo urgente aos leitores brasileiros (“An Urgent Appeal to my Brazilian Readers,” June 2006)



De quem é a festa? (“Whose Party This Is?,” Diário do Comércio, October 5)

A prova cabal da mentira (“Final Proof of the Lie About the São Paulo Forum,” Diário do Comércio, October 16)

Voto consciente (“Responsible Voting,” censored by Zero Hora, October 29)

Sem novidades, exceto as piores (“No News Except the Very Worst,” Diário do Comércio, October 30)




O Brasil de Bento XVI (“Brazil, According to Benedict the XVI,”Jornal do Brasil, January 11)

O Foro de São Paulo, versão anestésica (“The São Paulo Forum, an Anesthitic Version,” Diário do Comércio, January 15)

Lição repetida (“A Repeated Lesson,” Jornal do Brasil, January 18)



A palavra das Farc (“The Word of the FARC,” February 14)



Salvando o comunismo (“Saving Communism,” Inconfidência, March 2)

Cartas de um terráqueo ao planeta Brasil (“Letters From an Earthling to Planet Brazil,”March 20)



Top-top e fuc-fuc (July 23)



A maior trama criminosa de todos os tempos (“The Greatest Criminal Plot of All times,”Digesto Econômico, September)

Towards a Diagnosis of Latin America (Notes for a Lecture Delivered at the America’s Future Foundation, September 12)

Sem desculpa (“No Excuses,”Diário do Comércio, September 13)

O perigo sou eu (“I Am a Danger,” Diário do Comércio, September 24)



Aprendendo com Peña Esclusa (“Learning From Peña Esclusa,” Diário do Comércio, October 22)



Sonsice obrigatória (“Mandatory Stupidity,”Diário do Comércio, December 6)

Saindo do armário (“Coming Out of the Closet,”Jornal do Brasil, December 13)

O revolucionário aburguesado (“The Bourgeousified Revolutionary,” Diário do Comércio, December 13)



Chega de discussão (“Enough Arguing Already,” Diário do Comércio, January 16)

Digitais do Foro de São Paulo (“The São Paulo Forum’s Fingerprints,” Diário do Comércio, January 28)

Gillez, ou: A solução do enigma (GIlles or the Solution of an Enigma,” Diário do Comércio, January 29)

A força do segredo (“The Power of Secrecy,”Jornal do Brasil, January 31)



Boicotando um herói nacional (Diário do Comércio, February 14)



Agora é tarde (“It Is Too Late Now,” Jornal do Brasil, March 6)

Colaboracionistas (“Collaborationists,”Jornal do Brasil, March 13)



The fourteenth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Read the final declaration of the fourteenth meeting.


Confusão e erro (“Confusion and Error,” Diário do Comércio, May 9)

Os homens certos no lugar certo (“The Right Men in the Right Places,”Inconfidência, May 19)



Doméstica apaixonada (Jornal do Brasil, June 5)

Uma nova fachada do Foro de São Paulo (“The São Paulo Forum’s New Façade,” Diário do Comércio, June 9)

“Os” Intelectuais e seu modelo (” ‘The’ Intellectuals and Their Role Model,” Jornal do Brasil, June 26)



Ofício proibido (Jornal do Brasil, July 17)



Falando às pedras (“Speaking to Stones,” Diário do Comércio, August 1)

Por favor, me expliquem (“Please, Explain This to Me,”Jornal do Brasil, August 7)



Fora da lei (“An Outlaw,” Diário do Comércio, October 23)




Da mentira à impostura (“From Lying to Imposture,” March 26)



O deserto dos gringos (“The Desert of the Gringos,” Digesto Econômico, July)

A OEA, órgão do Foro de São Paulo (Diário do Comércio, July 20)



Apostando contra o tempo (Diário do Comércio, August 21)



Olavo de Carvalho Explains Lula and the São Paulo Forum (Aleksander Boyd interviews Olavo de Carvalho, VCrisis, October 22)




Alex Newman interviews Olavo de Carvalho on Communism in Latin America (New American, March 15)



O passado no presente (Diário do Comércio, July 12)

Bandidos e poltrões (Diário do Comércio, July 23)



Rabo à mostra (Diário do Comércio,August 2010)



Grande Descoberta (Diário do Comércio, November 1)



Os barões (Diário do Comércio, December 1)




Ato de Rotina (Diário do Comércio, January 7)



Lição de diplomacia (“A Lesson in DIplomacy,” Diário do Comércio, April 26)



Leftists Across Latin America Gather for São Paulo Forum Congress in Nicaragua (Christian Science Monitor, May 11).



A raposa e o tigre (“The Fox and the Tiger,” Diário do Comércio, June 13)


Perguntas proibidas (“Forbidden Questions,” Diário do Comércio, August 8)

Frivolidade Criminosa (“Criminal Frivolity,” Diário do Comércio, August 25)




Saudades do jornalismo (“How I Miss Journalism,” Diário do Comércio, April 23)



Demolindo Otávio de Ramalho (Mídia Sem Máscara, May 4)

South American Union Seeks Regional Law Enforcement (Alex Newman, The New American, May 7)



Depois do mensalão (Diário do Comércio,October 17)

O maior dos perigos (“The Greatest Danger of All,” Diário do Comércio, October 24)

O óbvio esotérico (“The Esoteric Obvious,” Diário do Comércio, October 31)



Regra geral (“General Rule,” November 3, 2012)



Quem eram os ratos? (“Who Were the Rats?,” Diário do Comércio, December 6)

O preço do colaboracionismo (“The Price of Collaborationism,” Diário do Comércio, December 17)



Duas notas (“Two Notes,” Diário do Comércio, January 8)