Yesterday in Brazil, thousands of election denying insurrectionists stormed their congress, presidential palace, and supreme court. While the damage was extensive, Brazil’s legally constituted authorities were able to roll back this assault on democracy.
Having happened so close to the anniversary of January 6th, it’s hard not to look at the similarities. In both Brazil and the United States, right wing crackpots, led by defeated and disgraced ex-presidents were whipped into a furor and aimed at their respective institutions of government. In both cases, the attacks were carried out by those claiming to represent “conservative” principles.
As a life-long holder of conservative beliefs, let me say for the record that these fucknuckles wouldn’t understand conservatism if it shot them in the ass. No matter how you try to dress it up, radical reactionism simply isn’t, by definition, conservative. To be conservative is to be, at heart, an institutionalist. By all means, disagree with the direction government and civic institutions are taking and work to change them, but undermining those institutions at the direction of wild-eyed charlatans is the polar opposite of “being conservative.” It’s banana republicanism at best.
Whether they follow Bolsonaro, Trump, or the next wave of MAGA Republicanism that seems to now be emerging, the threat against democratic norms and institutions continues to increase. We ignore this rising tide, or pretend we have put down the insurrectionists once and for all, at our own peril. This insidious threat to liberty may have been rolled back or held off, but it hasn’t been defeated.