Brazil's President Is a Real Improvement, Despite American Elite Outrage

This is where American social media feedback loops are distorting the picture

Brazil's President is, if you believe pundits on Twitter, a worse form of Donald Trump. He has spoken highly of a former Brazilian coup, does not support gay rights, and wants more people to own guns. He has expressed authoritarian sentiments and other sins.

I saw a good number of people I tend to pay attention to who were appalled at Nikki Haley saying anything nice about the guy. I had not really paid attention. Brazil pretends to be on the advanced end of developing nation status, but if you scratch the surface you'd see how much of that is fake. Just go to Rio and try not to die or have part of the Olympic village fall on top of you.

Jair Bolsonaro is "far right" and the media means that as a pejorative.

Turns out he favors the private sector and wants to get rid of government owned industry.

He favors expansive gun rights as a way to combat crime and let people protect themselves. This has led to massive media backlash in the United States.

He favors conservative social policy including a rollback of the LGBT agenda in Brazil. Again, this has led to massive media backlash in the United States.

Most damning in the eyes of many in western media, he favors abandoning restrictions on private property that could threaten Amazonian forest growth, i.e. he's bad for climate change.

The media has focused a lot on Bolsonaro talking favorably about Brazil's American backed military dictatorship that ruthlessly exterminated communists and other dissident groups from the 1960's into the early 1980's. They suggest Bolsonaro might bring it back.

So far, the only thing Bolsonaro seems to be doing is keeping his campaign promises to fight corruption, roll back progressive social policies his socialist predecessor supported, and expand gun rights. But the American commentariat can do nothing but see everything through the lens of Trump and if you hate Trump, you must hate Bolsonaro apparently.

Lest we forget, Bolsonaro got elected democratically by the people of Brazil who saw their elected leadership turn the government into a kleptocracy that led to the former President's impeachment for corruption and also for failing to root out corruption at the state owned oil company.

What's really going on here, however, is the progressive media is working overtime to try to define any right-of-center politician as "far right". They're moving the Overton window, so to speak, whereby any candidate who favors socially conservative policies, free enterprise, and gun rights is too far right to be acceptable.

Bolsonaro is no threat to democracy. He may become one. But right now he is not. He is, however, a threat to the established liberal order and American elites are defensive about that because Trump.

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I don't know if he's an improvement, but the guy has said some disturbing things.

On democracy:

After criticising Brazil's government during an interview in 1999, Mr Bolsonaro was asked if he would shut down congress if he was elected president.

He said: "There is no doubt. I would perform a coup on the same day. [Congress] doesn't work.

"Elections won't change anything in this country. It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn't do: killing 30,000. If some innocent people die, that's fine. In every war, innocent people die."

"And I am sure that at least 90% of the population would celebrate and applaud because it doesn't work. The congress today is useless… let's do the coup already. Let's go straight to the dictatorship."

On birth control:

He said: "We need to adopt a rigid birth control policy... People who aren't prepared to have children, shouldn't have them...

"Methods [of birth control] have to be provided for those who, unfortunately, are ignorant and have no means to control their offspring because we [as upper middle class] are able to control ours. Poor people don't control [theirs]."

On human rights:

Reiterating his stance on torture in 2000, he said: "I defend torture. A drug dealer who acts on the streets against our children must to be immediately put on a pau-de-arara [torture device where the person is tied up on a pole that resembles a bird's perch).

"There would be no human rights in this case. There would be pau-de-arara, beating. The same thing for kidnappers. The guy must be broken to open his mouth."

On homosexuality:

In 2002, Mr. Bolsonaro said: "I'm not going to combat or discriminate, but if I see two men kissing on the street, I'm going to hit them."

"I'd prefer [to see] a son of mine to die in an accident than [to be] a homosexual," he told Playboy in a 2011 interview.

"I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son." (2011)

On women:

"I wouldn't rape you because you don't deserve it." (2014)

From an exchange with congresswoman Maria do Rosario in Brazil's lower house. Rosario later argued his comments had encouraged sexual assault. In a subsequent newspaper interview, Bolsonaro said Rosario was "not worth raping; she is very ugly."

He has also described having a female child as a "weakness", and said that he would not employ women equally because "[they] get more labour rights than men".

On race:

"I visited a quilombo and the least heavy afro-descendant weighed seven arrobas (approximately 230 pounds). They do nothing! They are not even good for procreation."

Bolsonaro has dismissed the criticism of these comments as "political correctness".

"Political correctness is a thing of leftist radicals," he said in an interview with daily newspaper Correio Braziliense. "I am one of the most attacked persons."


The former president wasn’t impeached for corruption. She was impeached for breaking laws about spending without offsetting cost savings. It was dubious at best and in this country we’d be screaming coup if somebody did that to the Donald because he is clearly not concerned with balancing any budgets. That said Dilma was an awful president and almost nobody was sad to see her go. Her predecessor, Lula, was sentenced to 12 years prison last year for corruption