- Beyond the ideological lie: The revolution of 1989 thirty years later Daniel Mahoney, Law & Liberty
- Cheer the fall of the Wall Bryan Caplan, EconLog
- Don’t venerate the nation-state Dalibor Rohac, Standpoint
- Finally, a good idea comes out of Washington Jack Crowe, National Review
- The gory, secret lives of NHL dentists David Fleming, ESPN
- Imam publicly caned for breaking adultery law he helped draft BBC
- The Chinese Communist Party on the worldwide protests Global Times
- Are countries like people? Niall Ferguson, Times Literary Supplement
- How American anthropology redefined humanity Louis Menand, New Yorker
- China’s new Great Wall rises in the heart of Europe Katsuji Nakazawa, Asian Nikkei Review
- Chile: neoliberalism’s poster boy falls from grace Branko Milanovic, globalinequality
- Turkey rejects German-NATO plan, cozies up to Russia Laura Kayali, Politico
- “Buddhists have entered the era of militant tribalism” Hannah Beech, New York Times
- The German problem Samuel Goldman, Modern Age
- The Soviet century Aaron Smith, Harper’s
- Fully automated luxury communism Kristian Niemietz, Quillette
- A global history of the Communist Party Tony Wood, the Nation
- The issue is the issue Scott Sumner, MoneyIllusion
- The case of Ilhan Omar Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
- Early US diplomatic culture and the Native Americans Zachary Conn, Age of Revolutions
I understand things are not the same everywhere in the World, but until just a few years ago, to call yourself “right-wing” in Brazil was virtually unthinkable. The reasons for that are not totally clear, but the fact is that “right-wing” was a name with a very bad connotation. Brazil went through a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. This dictatorship was set in place to prevent a perceived communist threat in the country, especially after the Cuba Revolution of 1959. Therefore, it was an anticommunist dictatorship.
My understanding is that, because of that, to be “right-wing” in Brazil was understood as “being in favor of dictatorship”, and left-wing to be “for democracy”. Of course, examining things with just a little more care, nothing could be further from the truth. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were no democrats. Actually, the military dictatorship in Cuba lives on. Mao Zedong was a horrendous dictator. So were Stalin and Lenin. There is no reason to believe that Trotsky would have been any less authoritarian.
There is no reason to believe that the socialists/communists in Brazil would have been democratic once in power. But they didn’t come to power, and because of that people could fuel the romantic image of revolutionaries unjustly persecuted by the military. Although I disagree with Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho in many points, I believe he is totally right on this: the military in Brazil was great in fighting the communist guerrilla. Thanks to them, we don’t have something similar to FARC in Brazil today. But when it came to propaganda and cultural war they were just awful. Communists in Brazil (and in other places) were great in selling the image of Che Guevara as a romantic hero fighting against the evil North-American Imperialism.
And this is the paradigm I grew up with. Either you are a freedom fighter, opposing evil capitalists and imperialism, or you are subservient to foreign powers and injustice. Considering this background, of course, nobody would like to be called right-wing. However, things changed.
One of the things that made me turn right was studying the right-wing political ideologies. I discovered that classical liberals and conservatives were not against the poor, just the opposite. The best example I can think of is Adam Smith: his Wealth of Nations is actually a love letter for those who are oppressed by unjust economic exploitation. What Adam Smith was trying to find out is what makes the lives of the simple people better. His answer, in a nutshell, was the free market. Similarly, the Founding Fathers were trying to give the common folk a better living without oppression. And they did. Very different from all the leftist revolutions. In short, free markets and liberal democracy work.
The second thing that made me turn right was the hypocrisy of some leftists. I realized that they want you to have freedom of choice, but only if you choose what they want. If you feel you have homosexual inclinations, they want you to have the freedom to embrace homosexuality. And so do I! But God forbid (or Marx forbid) you decide (for whatever reason) to fight homosexuality and become (or remain) straight. They want women to have the freedom to get jobs. But they don’t want them to have the freedom to stay home to raise the kids. The examples are many, but the summary is this: I realized that many leftists are not ready to defend your right to be different.
I’m really sorry that things come down to what two consenting adults do in a closed room. I really am. But it seems to me that much of the leftist agenda is to have the freedom to choose only if you choose what they want. And this is what made me turn right: to accept other peoples choices as much as I want them to accept mine. Liking it or not.