A very concerning news report from The London Times citing a study pointing out that a large portion of scientists, physicians and other health professionals are the subject of harassment, threats, violence, and intimidation. This is the result, not just of anti-vaccine organizations, but animal rights groups too. In one way or another, an organized, […]Anti-Science Totalitarians Blamed for Harassment of Scientists, Medical Professionals — Green Jihad
Editorial. PortVitoria – A biannual digital magazine of current affairs, culture and politics centred on the Iberian culture and its diaspora – www.portvitoria.com
Human character is ambivalent by nature and by nurture, and this ambivalence is reflected in almost everything that man does. Nietzsche identified this ambivalence in art, through the concepts of Appolonian and Dyonisian art, the first appealing to logic, prudence and purity, and the second to emotions and instincts. Psychologists recognize that people often fall in one of the two clusters of values. One very common representation of human ambivalence is the different judgements of historical persons, while the capacity to judge oneself is another. This edition of PortVitoria has essays on three historical individuals who were judged incorrectly by public opinion: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) and the Marquis of Pombal (1699-1782). As Wilfried McClay suggests in his article on Freud, he was vilified for about forty years, but that a fresh look into his legacy revealed him as an endowed and original social philosopher. In my essay on the Marquis of Pombal, I try to show that for over a century he was reputed as a power craze tyrant, until a fresh look on his life revealed his great intelligence and statesmanship in guiding Portugal in the aftermath of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Michelle Raji`s article on Agassiz, a Swiss biologist and geologist who in 1832 became a university professor first at Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and in 1847 of Harvard, when he gained notoriety for his method of observing and analysing fishes, deals specifically with an expedition he made to Brazil from 1865 to 1868. As Raji points out, Agassiz was a ‘sensational figure in his day’, loved by many of his colleagues, although one of the students who accompanied him to Brazil spotted his biases and was disgusted by them. The student in question was no other than William James (1842-1910), the future founder of pragmatism. A fourth character in this edition is the Mexican poet, thinker and a polymath Octavio Paz (1914-1998), a man I consider the most brilliant mind that came of Latin America, but who is sadly underappreciated among the speakers of Spanish and Portuguese.
It is easy to make mistakes in judging the character of other people; it is easy to ignore the deserving and to put the undeserving on pedestals. However, the problems that arise from our mistakes in judging others are now much greater, since the advent of the digital age and the availability of social media make everyone a potential judge of character, deeds and reputations. As early as 2013 Bruce Schneider, a technologist in safety, raised the alarm regarding the recrudescence of the court of public opinion since the advent of social media, in an article published in Wired, here republished in Portuguese. To Schneider, the court of public opinion is about reputational justice, when the arguments of each party are measured in relation to reputation, and the end result is not justice but the loss of reputation. Reputation is also an important theme in the essay by Fernando Genovés, which is an excerpt from his latest book Dinero S.L De la sociedad de proprietaries a la comunidad de gestores, or Money Inc. (From the society of owners to the community of managers, Kindle edition. 2020). In this book, Genovés shows that in the existing conflict between the left and the right, the left wins not because it is the better alternative but because it has a kind of glamour that attracts people to it. As he points out, people don’t go for substance but for images, which is why it makes no difference that the glamour they fall for is false. Reading Genovés book reminded me how universities have become cohortative to the cult of image and false glamour. It inspired me to write an essay on the history of teaching and the universities, which I hope will serve as food for thought on the future of middle and higher education, especially in my native Brazil.
On a final note, when I created PortVitoria as the magazine of the Iberian culture, back in 2010, what I had in mind was well-informed scholarly articles that could incentivize reflection and discussion. This is obviously a disadvantage in a world that highly addicted to soundbites and images. The reader of PortVitoria is an individual who is well-educated but never takes his education for granted, habitually reflects about things that matter, and enjoys face to face conversation with others. If this is you, and you would like PortVitoria to continue, you can help by putting a link to it in your site, or by simply spreading the word of mouth about it.
On our recent holiday in Rome my husband and I had the unfortunate incident of falling for a scam in one of its museums, which I thought we should share with others so that they don’t fall for it as we did. This happened on Tuesday 3 March 2020, at about 11.20 am, at the Vatican Museum. Although we saw a sign saying “On line tickets only”, there were no signs for ordinary tickets that we could see. As we were trying to figure out what to do, somehow we started to talk to a man who happened to be standing nearby, who offered to show us the place to buy the tickets. We followed him into a side street and into a Tour Operator shop. A man on the other side of the counter offered us tickets as part of a guided tour, insisting that this was the only ticket option available other than those purchased on line. Fearing that this could be our last opportunity to see the Vatican Museum, we agreed to pay their ‘child’ discounted price of 48€ per person, for the next available tour in English at 12 o’clock. They gave us two stickers and the receipt.
We went to have a coffee in a nearby coffee shop, to rest and wait. Just before 12 o’clock we returned to the Tour Operator shop, where we were joined by six or seven other persons plus our guide, a man of about 40 years of age, tall, stout, full head of dark brown hair, wearing shabby khaki trousers and shirt, and holding a partially extended collapsible umbrella. After we passed through the security inspection, a man we had not seen before approached our group and handed a ticket to the Vatican Museum to each person, with a price of 17€ stamped on it. Our guide then took us to a desk to collect individual receivers and earphones, after which we followed him through the entrance of the museum itself, next to which we spotted the Ticket Office and several people purchasing ordinary tickets without guides.
Although we were very upset when we realised that we were duped into spending 62€ more than it was necessary, we resigned to follow our tour leader in the hope that we could get knowledgeable information from him. Unfortunately, that too was a great disappointment. I began to suspect that he was a charlatan during his first and lengthy stop, still in the entrance hall, when he mixed up historical facts with religion, talking about the construction of Saint Peter’s basilica on the site of the burial place of Saint Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles. I became certain on his second stop, in the courtyard still outside the Museum, in front of some panels showing reproductions of the Sistine Chapel paintings, he gave an even longer speech about the scenes painted by Michelangelo, digressing to the unification of Italy, the formation of the Vatican State, and how the Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, exhibited at the Louvre, in Paris, had been acquired by the King of France himself. If most of what he said were superficial information, at least his account of how the ‘Mona Lisa’ ended up in Paris was wrong. It was then that I persuaded my husband to cut ourselves loose from this dodgy tour guide. That was one sound decision we made that day. JPO, UK
Portuguese and Spanish below
Ludibriados no Museu do Vaticano. Não caia nesse conto do vigário
Em nossas recentes férias em Roma, meu marido e eu tivemos o infeliz incidente de cair num golpe em um de seus museus, o qual decidimos compartilhar com outras pessoas a fim de evitar que elas também caiam no mesmo golpe. Isso aconteceu na terça-feira, 3 de março de 2020, por volta das 11h20, no Museu do Vaticano. Embora tenhamos visto uma placa dizendo “Ingressos on-line”, não havia à vista nenhuma placa para ingressos comuns. Enquanto tentávamos decidir o que fazer, de alguma forma nós começamos a conversar com um homem que estava ali perto o, que se ofereceu para nos mostrar o lugar onde comprar os ingressos. Nós o seguimos por uma rua lateral até uma agência de turismo. Um homem do outro lado do balcão nos ofereceu bilhetes de uma visita guiada, insistindo que essa era a única opção de ingresso disponível, descontando aqueles comprados on-line. Temendo que essa fosse a nossa última oportunidade de visitar o Museu do Vaticano, concordamos em pagar o preço ‘com desconto de ‘criança’, de 48€ por pessoa, para a próxima turnê disponível em inglês, às 12 horas. Eles nos deram dois selos adesivos da turnê, mais o recibo.
Fomos tomar um café em uma cafeteria próxima, para descansar e esperar. Pouco antes das 12 horas, retornamos à Agência de Turismo, e nos juntamos a mais seis ou sete pessoas, além do nosso guia, um homem de cerca de 40 anos de idade, alto, corpulento, com fartos cabelos castanho-escuro, usando calça e camisa cáqui desgrenhadas, e segurando um guarda-chuva dobrável parcialmente estendido. Depois de passarmos pela inspeção de segurança, um homem que não tínhamos visto antes, se aproximou do nosso grupo e entregou a cada pessoa um bilhete do Museu do Vaticano, com um preço estampado de 17€. Nosso guia então nos levou a uma mesa para coletar receptores e fones de ouvido individuais, após o que nós o seguimos pela entrada do próprio museu, ao lado da qual avistamos uma bilheteria e várias pessoas comprando ingressos comuns, sem guias.
Embora tivéssemos ficado muito chateados quando percebemos que havíamos gasto 62€ a mais do que era necessário, nós nos resignamos a seguir o nosso guia na esperança de que pudéssemos obter dele informações periciais. Infelizmente, isso também foi uma grande decepção. Já na sua primeira e longa parada, ainda no hall de entrada, eu comecei a suspeitar que ele era um charlatão, ao notar que ele misturava fatos históricos com religião, falando sobre a construção da basílica de São Pedro no local do cemitério de São Pedro, um dos 12 apóstolos de Jesus. Fiquei certa de que ele era um charlatão durante a sua segunda parada, no pátio do lado de fora do Museu, em frente a alguns painéis que exibiam reproduções das pinturas da Capela Sistina, onde ele fez um discurso ainda mais longo, iniciando com explicações das cenas pintadas por Michelangelo, e divagando sobre outros temas como a unificação da Itália, a formação do Estado do Vaticano, e, como a ‘Mona Lisa’ de Leonardo da Vinci, exibida no Louvre, em Paris, fora adquirida pelo próprio rei da França. A maior parte do que ele disse era superficial, e o seu relato sobre como a ‘Mona Lisa’ acabou em Paris estava errado. Foi aí que eu convenci meu marido a abandonar esse duvidoso guia. Essa foi uma decisão acertada que tomamos naquele dia. JPO, UK
Engañados en el Museo del Vaticano. Evite esa estafa
En nuestras recientes vacaciones en Roma, mi esposo y yo tuvimos el desafortunado incidente de ser engañados en uno de sus museos, que decidimos compartir con otros para evitar que también cayeran en el mismo golpe. Esto sucedió el martes 3 de marzo de 2020, alrededor de las 11:20 a.m., en el Museo del Vaticano. Aunque avistamos un letrero que decía “Boletos en línea”, no había a la vista ningún letrero para boletos ordinarios. Mientras estábamos tratando de decidir o qué hacer, de alguna manera comenzamos a hablar con un hombre que estaba cerca, que se ofreció a mostrarnos el lugar para comprar los boletos. Lo seguimos por una calle lateral hasta una agencia de turismo. Un hombre al otro lado del mostrador nos ofreció boletos para una visita guiada, insistiendo en que esta era la única opción de boletos disponible, descontando aquellos comprados en línea. Temiendo que esta fuera nuestra última oportunidad de visitar el Museo del Vaticano, acordamos pagar el precio “con un descuento de niño”, 48€ por persona, para el próximo recorrido disponible en inglés, a las 12 del mediodía. Nos dieron dos sellos adhesivos de la gira, más el recibo.
Fuimos a tomar un café a una cafetería cercana para descansar y esperar. Justo antes de las 12 en punto, regresamos a la Agencia de Turismo, y nos unimos a seis o siete personas más, además de nuestro guía, un hombre de unos 40 años de edad, alto, corpulento, con cabello castaño oscuro y pantalones y camisa caqui desaliñados, y sosteniendo un paraguas doblado parcialmente extendido. Después de pasar la inspección de seguridad, un hombre que no habíamos visto antes, se acercó a nuestro grupo y le entregó a cada persona un boleto del Museo del Vaticano, con un precio de 17€. Nuestro guía luego nos llevó a una mesa para recoger receptores y auriculares individuales, después de lo cual lo seguimos a través de la entrada al museo, al lado del cual vimos una taquilla y varias personas comprando boletos regulares, sin guías.
Aunque estábamos muy molestos cuando nos dimos cuenta de que habíamos gastado 62€ más de lo necesario, nos resignamos a seguir nuestra guía con la esperanza de poder obtener información experta de él. Desafortunadamente, eso también fue una gran decepción. Ya en su primera y larga parada, todavía en el hall de entrada, comencé a sospechar que era un charlatán, cuando notó que mezclaba hechos históricos con religión, hablando de la construcción de la basílica de San Pedro en el sitio del cementerio de San Pedro, uno de los 12 apóstoles de Jesús. Me quedé segura de que era un charlatán durante su segunda parada, en el patio afuera del Museo, frente a algunos paneles que exhibían reproducciones de las pinturas en la Capilla Sixtina, donde pronunció un discurso aún más largo, comenzando con explicaciones de las escenas pintadas por Miguel Ángel y divagando sobre otros temas, como la unificación de Italia, la formación del Estado del Vaticano y, como la ‘Mona Lisa’ de Leonardo da Vinci, exhibidas en el Louvre de París, fueron adquiridas por el propio rey de Francia. Si la mayor parte de lo que dijo era información superficial, al menos su explicación de cómo la ‘Mona Lisa’ terminó en París estaba equivocada. Fue entonces cuando convencí a mi esposo de abandonar eso dudoso guía y visitar solos el Museo del Vaticano. Esa fue una sabia decisión que tomamos en ese día. JPO, Reino Unido
Good-bye, Roger Scruton
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Roger Scruton on 12 January 2020, aged 75.
Scruton was shunned in his own country for exposing the follies and fallacies of the demi-Gods of the Left, such as Foucault, Derrrida, Althusser and Gramisci. In spite of all the hardships that he had to face, he succeeded in attaining the ‘good life’, which is the mark of all true philosophers. May his life serve as a warning to all societies, of how easily it is to misjudge people, giving unwarranted praises to some and shunning the truly merited. The curse of postmodernism exacerbated considerably this error of judgement.
I had the honour of meeting Scruton in 2012, in London, during the book signing section that followed the debate between him and the literary theorist and critic Terry Eagleton, promoted by Intelligence Squared. Having introduced myself briefly, I told him that I had created a magazine called PortVitoria, hoping to disseminate the ideas of classical liberalism to a Portuguese and Spanish audience. I mentioned that I would like to translate some of his essays to publish in PortVitoria, and that I had already published there a review of his book Green Philosophy: How to think seriously about the planet. When I explained that PortVitoria was a start-up and still unknown, he put me at ease by telling me that he too had edited a magazine that had only some twelve hundred subscribers. He was referring to The Salisbury Review, a ‘quarterly magazine of conservative thought’ founded in 1982, which he served as chief-editor for 18 years. Although The Salisbury Review has a digital edition, its original paper edition survives to this day. I was very happy when he told me that I could translate his essay ‘The Green and the Blue’ into Portuguese and Spanish, to publish PortVitoria. I will always treasure my signed copy of his book The Face of God (2012), where he wrote “To Jo, with best wishes”. Good-bye, great philosopher.
And a postmodern New Year to you too
Stuart Parker (Guest writer)
OK. So, in this post-truth world, your New Year’s resolution is to become a postmodernist but you’re not sure how to go about it? I’m here to help.
Now you may be tempted to overload with Derrida or overdose on Wittgenstein, but just sit down. All of that is fun, but it’s hard work, and you don’t want to break that resolution, do you? No need to worry though. Here are some tips to ease yourself into your new postmodern threads.
First step: Start to think in terms of metaphors.
In their book, Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson describe how metaphors shape the way we see the world. We tend, for example, to see “up” as positive, “down” as negative. Same with “forward” versus “backward”, “straight” versus “twisted”. “Argument” is readily described through the language of war. Look at our House of Commons and think how different parliament would be if argument was seen as dance, or a relationship or love.
We postmodernists just take the extra step of getting rid of the literal altogether. Everything is metaphor. Some metaphors are more stable than others for particular purposes. There’s your literal.
Next: Listen to more music.
Music is the most clearly metaphorical of the arts. Thinking of the “meaning” in music will help you to weaken the hold of the literal on your world-view. Think about how the meaning of a song’s lyrics depends on their setting within a context of melody and harmony. How many great lyrics are simply bad poetry when ripped away from their song?
Try the famous game from “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue,” by singing the lyrics of one song to the tune of another. The result is often ridiculous and certainly involves a shift in the meaning. That thing that “Land of Hope and Glory” does for you. That’s not literal. But not only does it play with your feelings, your imagination and your sense of identity, it does so in a way that is common to many other people.
All of this is relative of course. Non-Brits may get something completely different from it. No problem. That’s another thing you’ll get used to embracing as a postmodernist. Relativism. Big-time!
At this point we need to get something straight. Postmodernists do not value style over substance. Or rather, we do, but only because we see substance as a consequence of style. This may seem a bit awkward at first. I’ve been castigated by realist philosophers from the analytic tradition for saying that what is really bad about the Nazis is that they offend our literary taste; our sense of narrative style.
That’s fine. Leave the analytic guys to struggle with absolute notions of evil, essence and ethics, underwritten by some external reality (Spoiler alert: they can’t). We’re relativists, right? If something offends our literary taste then that’s enough (and we can then justify our offence with lyrics using words like evil, cruel immoral to which our style will give meaning).
Look how a different hairstyle, different clothes or make-up helps to make a difference to how you feel, how you’re viewed, to your personality and to your identity. Hey! You’ve got to lose that sense of a core, essential self. There’s nothing there to be discovered. You’re a postmodernist now and everything is style. Get over it!
This is both scary and liberating. Remember, you are a character in other people’s narratives. Identity is no private thing (How could you have a private style when style is all about differing?) You are not the final arbiter of your self. But you are a player. So get to work on controlling the narratives you’re embedded in.
I’ve mentioned narratives haven’t I? We could call them texts. Derrida does. And he says there is nothing outside the text. All we have recourse to is our narratives — “language games”, Wittgenstein called them — and there’s no text-independent world to arbitrate between rival texts. How could there be? We got rid of the literal a few paragraphs back.
Some texts combine quite readily. Jane Austen’s novels could all happily co-exist. Jane Austen and William Borroughs? Well… Bit of a clash, but it’s really up to us to create an enabling style; a meta-narrative (except that the overarching, meta-role is itself text-relative…) The point is, texts are man-made (a bit of Derridean phallocentrism there). They’re a human enterprise and it is up to us whether or not a style is constructed in which grating, clashing narratives can be smoothly mixed. Or, at least, co-exist. Possibly only within particular contexts.
So, at Christmas we can embrace the truth of the nativity and the truth of Santa Claus. We postmodernists embrace contradictions and have no problem accepting the reality of each. You just have to recognise that they are both man-made and their reality is relative to contexts in which they are useful. Yes, as a postmodernist you’ll quickly get used to being a pragmatist as well.
Any lessons for politics? Well I reckon the Conservatives have stumbled into a postmodern-ish approach with their slogans, their re-writing of history and their various clumsy-yet-effective patriot-narratives. It helps if you own a narrative-machine like, e.g., most of the press.
And the lies? Postmodernism doesn’t enable lies. Lies, like truth, are text-relative. I’m not sure what sort of surreal, comedic narrative would make Boris Johnson honest but, well, you get the point.
As for Labour, all I’d say is: get postmodern before it’s too late. You’ve been asking to have a hackneyed, 70’s prehistoric narrative imposed on you. Corbyn as style? How passé. Take back control of your textuality. Get yourselves some stylistic agility. Persuade us with the force of your creativity. Remember, it’s all about forward with flair, not backward to flares! Unless they’re back in.
As for you dear reader. You’ll soon be ready for Derrida. And deconstruction. Happy New Year.
Article published in The Article, Saturday, December 28, 2019. Stuart Parker is a former lecturer in philosophy and education. Author of Reflective Teaching in the Postmodern World.
O Pós-modernismo, incluindo os seus efeitos deletérios no Brasil, é o tema da última edição de PortVitoria, revista da cultura ibérica no mundo, para falantes de português, espanhol e inglês. Leia e repasse o link.
Many Westerners remain unaware of the inculcations of Postmodernism and the threat it represents to the West.
This issue of PortVitoria is dedicated to Postmodernism, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad scepticism, subjectivism, or relativism, a general suspicion of reason, and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power. Postmodernism started in the field of literary criticism, where it promoted the idea that there are countless ways to interpret a text. Postmodernism became a threat to the West when it began to be applied to society. Inspired by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and the Marxist French philosopher and psychologist Michel Foucault (1926-1984), this is exactly what the sociologist Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) did when he modified Marx’s view of the power relation between capitalists and the proletariat to one between oppressors and the oppressed. According to the postmodern interpretation of society, all the values of the Enlightenment such as reason, science, technological progress, dialogue, individual liberty, etc., are all masks to hide the truth, which is the power relationships that exist between different groups in society. A major consequence of Postmodernism is identity politics, which is behind every existing social conflict within Western society such as male versus (vs) female, black vs white, gay vs straight, etc. Another consequence of Postmodernism is the inculcation that it is acceptable to put the past on trial and to judge it through the morality of the present. Some examples are the defacing of public monuments, the scrutiny of everyday speech, and the idea that pecuniary reparations are owed by the West to the descendants of those who were oppressed by slavery and colonialism. All of these things are enveloped by hate, which serves the objective of power of Postmodernism. The unwanted consequence of this hate is to remove the old wisdom of ‘let bygones be bygones’, which allows individuals to move on with their own lives.
To move on with one’s life is a necessary condition to enter the path of the ‘good life’ defined in Western philosophy as ‘a life of virtue that is the way to a happy existence’. Postmodernism is unconcerned with the ‘good life’ and dismisses traditional philosophy just as it dismisses the Enlightenment, labeling both as ‘grand narratives’ designed to give power. Undermining the values of the West is part of the postmodern strategy of social construction and deconstruction which is normally staged on the media by the social constructivists. One of their tricks to enhance a piece of news is to synchronize press releases in different communities. It is not surprising that many social constructivists are versed in the art of propaganda. Their narratives normally reveal a preference for short narratives and powerful imagery that emphasize the grim, the outrageous, and the eye-catching. There is the hallmark of Postmodernism in the rise of political tribalism and collective identity, the infestation of web bots, and the current proliferation of fake news.
This edition offers a neutral description of Postmodernism extracted from Encyclopaedia Britannica, as well as two critical opinions; one by Norman Berdichevsky and the other by myself. Berdichevsky’s article is entitled “How the Left wins arguments by narratives; Postmodernism, and the ‘greater moral significance’”, and it focuses on the postmodernist transgression of the traditional pattern of narrative. My article is entitled ‘What is Postmodernism about’, and it is an essay taken from my 2016 book O Homem Razoável (The Reazonable Man).
Another offering in this edition is a chapter from Stephen R C Hicks’ book Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, which was published initially in 2004 by Scholarly Publishing, and in 2011 by Ockham’s Razor Publishing. The article was taken from the Portuguese translation of Hicks’ book. In it, Hicks explains that social media has given an edge to Postmodernism by luring people into group-thinking.
The awareness of Postmodernism allows a clarifying hindsight of past events that we were unable to comprehend fully when they occurred. An example is the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, or simply Rio 92. It was supposed to solve the conundrum of how to develop without destroying the natural environment, but instead, it turned out to be more of a great spectacle to grab media attention. Although the hindsight examination of UNCED clearly reveals Postmodernism in action, such as the construction of iconic personas, there are two eye-witnesses that confirm this. They are two Canadian journalists, Elaine Dewar, who recorded her findings in her 1995 book Cloak of Green, and James Cobett. The latter revisited the event with Dewar, in an interview conducted in February 2016. This interview complements the arguments presented against Postmodernism.
The two books reviewed in this edition dwell on the problems of Postmodernism. The first book is Provocations (2018) by Camille Paglia, a massive collection of essays on high and low culture, including Postmodernism and the damage it has caused to higher education. The second book is The Madness of Crowds. Gender, Race and Identity (2019) by Douglas Murray, an in-depth analysis of the upsurge in political identity groups of women and LGBT. In his book, Murray points out some of the problems of group political identity, especially the abuse of power on the part of their leaders. Assigning the label of racist to people they dislike, demanding the sack of an academic for merely expressing an opinion, and insufflating disturbances on campuses are some examples he cites.
Finally, a Postmodernism-free space, in the Poetry slot, which is dedicated to Noel Rosa (1910-1937), one of Brazil’s most creative composers and lyricists. Although Rosa died age 26, of tuberculosis – he managed to compose over 300 songs during his short life, mostly ‘sambas’ and lively carnival songs called ‘marchinhas’ . Three of Rosa’s songs are shown, accompanied by their English translations, after his biography. I often speculate on how far Rosa would have gone if he had not died so young. He might have been a Brazilian alternative to Bob Dylan.
I hope this edition will provoke thought and even, a questioning of some modern-day misconceptions.
Editor of PortVitoria
Could the song ‘A Banda’ by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda be a case of plagiarism?
My British father in law is a lover of Big Bands, Jazz and Musicals, and knowing that my husband and I shared his taste in music, when he last visited us in August Summer of 2019, he gave us a large box of CDs he no longer wanted due to a change in his life. I started to listen to the CDs, until I ran across a particular one that made me very uneasy, because one of the songs had a segment that seemed to me exactly like the song called ‘A Banda’ (The Band), by the Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda (1944-). The CD in question is ‘Strictly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, recorded in 2008, with 17 tracks of amazing songs.
Searching through the internet I found that:
“The Syd Lawrence Orchestra was founded in 1967 by trumpeter and arranger Syd Lawrence, is considered the best Big Band in the UK; It has been thrilling audiences in concert halls, theatres, TV shows and music festivals all over the UK and Europe for over 40 years. Renowned for its exciting blend of high octane Big Band Swing and Classic Dance Music, the Orchestra’s repertoire ranges from the legendary Glenn Miller through the era of the great Count Basie Orchestra to the hit songs of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. It has recently been voted “Best Big Band in the Land” for the eleventh consecutive year”.
The particular song of the Strictly Big Band that had a part so alike a Brazilian song I know is ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, on track 4. This song, sung by Angie Mills, was by the American composer Jerry Herman, about whom, I got the following information:
“American songwriter Jerry Herman (b. July 10, 1931) is the first composer-plus-lyricist in history to have written three musicals that scored over 1,500 performances on their initial Broadway runs: Hello, Dolly! had 2,844, Mame 1,508, and La Cage aux Folles 1,761. (Stephen Schwartz matched this record in 2007.) Creator of ten Broadway shows so far, and contributor to two more, Herman has been nominated for Tony Awards® in multiple categories five times, and won two for Best Musical (Hello, Dolly! 1964 and La Cage aux Folles 1983)”.
The song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ was made famous by the musical ‘Hello Dolly’. I had heard it many times before, but the version on this CD is the only one I know that has the particular part that matches ‘A Banda’of Chico Buarque de Holanda. As for the lyrics, that of the Portuguese version are different, although the theme of how a marching band helps to raise spirits, is also the theme of the Portuguese version by Buarque de Holanda. Here is the information I found in the internet about the song A Banda by Chico Buarque de Holanda:
“Chico Buarque de Holanda composed this song when he returned from Europe, where he had toured with the play Morte e Vida Severina (Death and Life of Severino), adapted from a poem by João Cabral de Melo Neto that tells the story of Severino, a Brazilian economic migrant. It won the 2nd Tv Record Brazilian Popular Music Festival, and was recorded on her first album in 1966”.
There is more than one version for the song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, of the musical ‘Hello Dolly!’, which would explain why this one was the only one that included the particular section I mentioned. The one that contains the melody that matches ‘A Banda’ could be from the original Broadway Cast Recording of 1964.
If anyone wants to compare the similarity of a segment of the song Before the Parade Passes By’ in Track 4 of the CD ‘Strickly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, the segment starts precisely two minutes and twelve seconds from the start. The full lyrics of the song is listed below. The segment in question is marked between the stars.
Before the Parade Passes By – Melody & lyrics by Jerry Herman (Album Strictly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, 2008)
Before the parade passes by
I’ve gotta go and taste Saturday’s high life
Before the parade passes by
I’ve gotta get some life back into my life
I’m ready to move out in front
I’ve had enough of just passing by life
With the rest of them
With the best of them
I can hold my head up high
For I’ve got a goal again
I’ve got a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again
Before the parade…
Look at the crowd up ahead
Listen and hear that brass harmony growing
Look at that crowd up ahead
Pardon me if my old spirit is showing
All of those lights over there
Seem to be telling me where I’m going
When the whistle blows
And the cymbals crash
And the sparklers light the sky
I’m gonna raise the roof
I’m gonna to carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by
*** [Here is where it starts]
I’m going to march up and down
Right here in front of the tent
I’ll be the talk of the town
Whilst I make my stand
No clouds will darken my skies
My feet are feeling the shoes
The world will soon realize
I’ve got no room for the blues
Now get that tanner outside
I’ll take the trumpets and blow
I’m going to shout to the world
That I’m ready to go
*** [Here is where it ends]
Before the parade passes by
Listen and hear that brass harmony growing
When the parade passes by
Pardon me if my old spirit is showing
All of those lights over there
Seem to be telling me where I’m going
Look at that crowd up ahead
Listen and hear that brass harmony growing
Look at that crowd up ahead
Pardon me if my old spirit is showing
All of those lights over there
Seem to be telling me where I’m going
When the whistle blows
And the symbols crash
And the sparklers light the sky
I’m going to raise the roof
I’m going to carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by
I believe in intellectual property rights. I am not a professional musician but my ears tells me that the song ‘A Banda’ by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda could be a plagiarism of a part of the song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ by the American songwriter Jerry Herman. I believe that an expert should check my suspicion.
Here is a link for the version I mention in this posting, which includes the part that was supposed plagiarised, which starts at 2:08 minutes from the start:
And here a link to the A Banda by CBH.
Your opinion of the case is greatly appreciated.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKFcLjgI8v0
Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’
Disgraced kleptocrat Maurice Strong died late last year at the age of 86. He was shunned from polite society and forced into a life of exile in Beijing after his decades of business intrigues, crimes against humanity, and environmental destruction unraveled. His savagery culminated with an attempt to profit off of the death of starving Iraqi children. His funeral was a quiet affair, attended only by those few family members who could not find it in their heart to shun him completely. Former friends and business associates like Paul Martin, James Wolfensohn, Kofi Annan, Conrad Black, and Al Gore all avoided calls for comments on their disgraced friend’s passing.
…is how Maurice Strong’s legacy would have been remembered in any reasonable world. Instead we get this:
On Wednesday, hundreds will gather across from Parliament Hill for an extraordinary commemoration. The Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment, the former president of the World Bank – among other dignitaries, in and out of office – will pay homage to one of the great Canadians of his generation. They will celebrate the life of Maurice Frederick Strong, who died on November 27. His passing brought the obligatory obituaries and personal tributes. But in a country that often hides its light under a barn, Maurice Strong – and the feverish, consequential life he led at home and abroad – should not go uncelebrated.
And the accolades just keep pouring in.
From Canadian PM Justin Trudeau: “Maurice Strong was a pioneer of sustainable development who left our country and our world a better place.”
From the co-founder of the World Economic Forum at Davos: “He was a great visionary, always ahead of our times in his thinking.”
From author and philosopher John Ralston Saul: “He changed the world.”
In fact, a whole gaggle of globalists showed up to pay tribute to the memory of Strong earlier this week in Ottawa, from former World Bank president James Wolfensohn to under-secretary general of the UN Achim Steiner to Martin Lees, the former secretary-general of the Club of Rome. Written condolences poured in from other prominent globalists including Mikhail Gorbachev, Gro Harlem Bruntland and Kofi Annan.
So why exactly was Maurice Strong so beloved by the globalist jet set?
Oh, that’s right:
INTERVIEWER: “Maurice Strong doesn’t have any ambition for the United Nations to become the world’s government?”
STRONG: “No, and it’s not necessary, it’s not feasible, and certainly we are a long way from any such thing. But we do need–if we are going to have a more peaceful world, a more secure world–we need a more effective system of cooperation, which is what I call ‘system of governance.’ And the United Nations, with all its difficulties, is the best game in town.” (Interview)
President of Power Corp. President of the Canadian International Development Agency. Chair of Petro Canada. Chair of Ontario Hydro. Head of the United Nations Environmental Program. Founding member of the World Economic Forum at Davos. Father of the IPCC. Committed globalist.
No, it is not difficult to see why globalists love arch-globalist Maurice Strong. But how did this man, a dirt poor high school dropout from Oak Lake, Manitoba, rise to become an international wheeler-dealer who is responsible for shaping our modern day globalist institutions? The story is as unlikely as it is instructive, and it leads us from the heart of the oil patch to the formation of the IPCC.
Given Strong’s remarkable ascent through the ranks of political power to become a globalist kingpin, it won’t be surprising to hear that he had political connections in his family. But it may be surprising to hear where those connections were placed. His aunt, Anna Louise Strong, was a committed communist who befriended Lenin and Trotsky (who asked her to teach him English) before she ultimately settled in China, where she was on familiar terms with Mao Zedong. She became close with Zhou Enlai, who wept openly when she was buried with full honors in Beijing’s Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery.
Unfortunately for humanity, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with young Maurice. Born in rural Manitoba in 1929 and suffering through the worst of the Great Depression, Maurice Strong drops out of school at age 14 to look for work. He works his way around as a deck hand on ships and then, at age 16, as a fur buyer for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada’s North. There he meets “Wild” Bill Richardson, whose wife, Mary McColl, hails from the family behind McColl-Frontenac, one of Canada’s largest petroleum companies.
Through Richardson, Strong makes contacts that propel him into his unlikely career. As Wikipedia cryptically explains:
“Strong first met with a leading UN official in 1947 who arranged for him to have a temporary low-level appointment, to serve as a junior security officer at the UN headquarters in Lake Success, New York. He soon returned to Canada, and with the support of Lester B. Pearson, directed the founding of the Canadian International Development Agency in 1968”.
As far as massive narrative gaps and cryptic cover-ups of detail go, that paragraph is a masterpiece. The truth is even weirder. That “UN official” referred to by Wiki? That was none other than the Treasurer of the UN himself, Noah Monod. In fact, Monod doesn’t just get him a job, he gives him a place to live; the two room together during Strong’s time in the Big Apple. But most importantly, Monod gives him an introduction to the man who more than any other will be behind his meteoric rise to international superstardom: David Rockefeller.
Maurice Strong liked to relate the story that he had been confrontational with Rockefeller at the start. According to Strong, some of his first words to David were “I’m deeply prejudiced against you and all your family stands for.” Oddly, David doesn’t remember the meeting that way, saying instead that the two had “a strong working relationship.”
Either way, from that moment on Strong was a made man. And from that moment on, wherever Strong went Rockefeller and his associates were there somewhere in the background.
Alberta-OilIt was a Standard Oil veteran, Jack Gallagher, who gave Strong his big break in the Alberta oil patch when he quit his UN security job to return to Canada. Gallagher had been hired to create a new oil and gas exploration company by Henrie Brunie, a close friend of Rockefeller associate John J. McCloy. Strong signed on as Gallagher’s assistant.
When Maurice Strong suddenly decided to quit his job, sell his house, and travel to Africa, he found a job with Rockefeller’s CalTex in Nairobi.
When he quit that job in 1954 and started his own company back in Canada, he hired Brunie to manage it and appointed two Standard Oil of New Jersey reps to its board. By this point he was in his late 20s and already a multi-millionaire.
After considerable networking with Canada’s political elite, Strong was appointed head of Power Corporation, the baby of the powerful “Canadian Rockefellers,” the Desmarais family. Power Corp is a political kingmaker in Canadian politics and under Strong’s stewardship it continued to function in that role. One of his appointees: a fresh-faced Harvard MBA named James Wolfensohn, future president of the World Bank. Another hand pick: Paul Martin, future CEO of Canada Steamship Lines and Prime Minister of Canada.
Strong left Power Corp to head up Canada’s External Aid program. He oversaw the creation of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). As journalist Elaine Dewar, who interviewed Strong for her ground breaking book Cloak of Green, explains:
“IDRC had a clause in its enabling legislation allowing it to give money directly to individuals as well as to governments and private organizations. It was set up as a corporation, reporting to Parliament through the minister of external affairs. Its board of governors was designed to include private and even foreign persons.[…]Since IDRC was not created as an agent of the Crown (as CIDA is) , it was able to receive charitable donations from corporations and individuals as well as government funds”.
Those “corporations and individuals” generously “donating” their money to IDRC naturally included Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation itself. Strong admitted to Dewar that the IDRC was able to peddle political influence in the third world under its quasi-governmental guise.
His quasi-business/quasi-governmental/quasi-“philanthropic” career reached a new level in 1969, however. That’s when the Swedish ambassador to the UN called Strong up to see if he wanted to head the forthcoming United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, due to take place in 1972. He got the call not out of any supposed love for the environment, but because even by that time Strong was renowned as a human Rolodex of political, business and financial connections across the developed and developing world.
Naturally, he was duly appointed a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, which then funded his office for the Stockholm summit and supplied Carnegie Fellow Barbara Ward and Rockefeller ecologist Rene Dubos for his team. Strong commissioned them to write Only One Earth, a foundational text in the sustainable development arena that is heavily touted by globalists as a key for promoting the global management of resources.
The 1972 Stockholm summit is still hailed as a landmark moment in the history of the modern environmental movement, leading not only to the first governmentally-administered environmental action plans in Europe but the creation of an entirely new UN bureaucracy: the United Nations Environment Program. UNEP’s founding director: Maurice Strong. As Dewar explains:
“Like so many of the organizations Strong has made, this one too had multiple uses. In 1974, UNEP rose out of the undeveloped soil of Nairobi, Kenya, Strong’s old stomping ground. Placing UNEP in Africa was explained as a sop to the developing countries, who had been suspicious of Western intentions. But it was also useful for the big powers to have another international organization in Nairobi. After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Nairobi became the key spy capital of Africa”.
The Yom Kippur War and resulting OPEC oil embargo (magically foretold by the Bilderberg Conference in Sweden earlier that year and arranged by David Rockefeller’s agent, Henry Kissinger) had another spin-off effect that ended up benefiting Strong. The embargo hit eastern Canada hard, prompting Prime Minister Trudeau to create a publicly-run national oil company. The result: Petro-Canada was born in 1975 and Trudeau naturally appointed Strong, by now the single most powerful member of the global(ist) environmental movement, as its first president.
David Rockefeller was there with Strong in Colorado in 1987 for the ‘Fourth World Wilderness Congress,’ a meeting of world-historical importance that almost no one had even heard of. Attended by the likes of Rockefeller, Strong, James Baker and Edmund de Rothschild himself, the conference ultimately revolved around the question of financing for the burgeoning environmental movement that Strong had shaped from the ground up through his work at the United Nations Environment Program.
It was at that conference (recordings of which are available online thanks to whistleblower George Hunt) that Rothschild called for a World Conservation Bank, which he envisioned as the funding mechanism for a ‘second Marshall Plan’ that would be used for third world ‘debt relief’ and that favourite globalist dog whistle ‘sustainable development.’
Rothschild’s dream came true when Strong presided over another high-level UN environment summit: the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit.” Although perhaps best known as the conference that birthed Agenda 21, much less well known is that it was the Earth Summit that allowed the World Conservation Bank to become a reality.
Started on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit as a $1 billion World Bank pilot program, the bank, now known as the “Global Environment Facility” (GEF) is the largest public funder of global environmental projects, having made over $14.5 billion in grants and cofinanced a further $75.4 billion. The bank is the financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the organizing convention directing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
With Agenda 21 under his belt, Rothschild’s GEF dream bank in the can and the IPCC already twinkling in his eye, Strong’s remarkable career showed no signs of stopping. After wrapping up the Rio Summit he took on a series of appointments so bewildering it almost defies credulity. From his official website comes the following list:
“After the Earth Summit, Strong continued to take a leading role in implementing the results of Rio through establishment of the Earth Council, the Earth Charter movement, his Chairmanship of the World Resources Institute, Membership on the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the African-American Institute, the Institute of Ecology in Indonesia, the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and others. Strong was a long-time Foundation Director of the World Economic Forum, a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank, a Member of the International Advisory of Toyota Motor Corporation, the Advisory Council for the Center for International Development of Harvard University, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund, Resources for the Future, and the Eisenhower Fellowships”.
There is no doubt that Strong led a charmed life. And given the persistent presence of Rockefeller interests in that life from his earliest years, there is no doubt why doors seemed to open for him wherever in the world he went.
But still, one has to ask how and why a high school dropout who made it big in the oil patch thanks to his big oil connections would go on to become the single most important figure in the international environmental movement. Was he genuinely interested in protecting the environment?
Consider Strong’s acquisition of the Arizona Colorado Land & Cattle Company from Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in 1978. As part of that acquisition, Strong gained control over a ranch in the San Luis Valley in Colorado called the Baca Grande. As Henry Lamb explains in a 1997 article:
“The ranch, called Baca Grande, sat on the continent’s largest fresh water aquifer. Strong intended to pipe the water to the desert Southwest, but environmental organizations protested and the plan was abandoned. Strong ended up with a $1.2 million settlement from the water company, an annual grant of $100,000 from Laurance Rockefeller, and still retained the rights to the water”.
No, Strong’s interest in the site had nothing to do with preserving the pristine environment of the San Luis Valley. His interest was altogether stranger. As Quadrant Online notes:
“Maurice Strong had been told by a mystic that:
The Baca would become the centre for a new planetary order which would evolve from the economic collapse and environmental catastrophes that would sweep the globe in the years to come.
As a result of these revelations Strong created the Manitou Foundation, a New Age institution located at the Baca ranch — above the sacred waters that Strong had been denied permission to pump out. This hocus-pocus continued with the foundation of The Conservation Fund (with financial help of Laurance Rockefeller) to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain. At the Baca ranch there is a circular temple devoted to the world’s mystical and religious movements”.
Indeed, Strong’s missionary zeal for spreading his environmental message of doom and destruction for so many decades can be more easily explained as a quasi-religious zeal for preparing the way for the “New World Order” that this environmental doom supposedly foretells.
Further insight into Strong’s own mystic, New Age beliefs are found in what he considered to be his most important achievement: the creation of the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter was an outgrowth of Strong’s Earth Council Institute which he founded in 1992 with the help of Mikhail Gorbachev, David Rockefeller (of course), Al Gore, Shimon Peres, and a bevvy of Strong’s globalist friends.
Strong’s own website has described the Earth Charter as “a widely recognized, global consensus statement on ethics and values for a sustainable future,” but Strong himself has framed the document in religious terms, saying he hopes it will be treated like a new Ten Commandments.
So what does the Earth Charter say? Other than the predictable mealy-mouthed platitudes one would expect about “social and economic justice” and other political buzzwords, the document ends up as a love letter to world government:
“In order to build a sustainable global community, the nations of the world must renew their commitment to the United Nations, fulfil their obligations under existing international agreements, and support the implementation of Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development”.
The Earth Charter itself rests in the “Ark of Hope,” a literal ark that was constructed specifically to house the original document in an obvious reference to the ark of the covenant. The ark was unveiled on September 9, 2001, and then carried 350 miles to the United Nations in the wake of 9/11. The Earth Charter Commission member who presided over the unveiling just happened to be none other than Steven C. Rockefeller.
While this quasi-religious quest for global government is always wrapped in feel-good language about strengthening communities and preserving the planet, the underlying reality is about a much more Machiavellian agenda. As Dewar notes of the Rio Summit in “Cloak of Green”:
“Advertised as the World’s Greatest Summit, Rio was publicly described as a global negotiation to reconcile the need for environmental protection with the need for economic growth. The cognoscenti understood that there were other, deeper goals. These involved the shift of national regulatory powers to vast regional authorities; the opening of all remaining closed national economies to multinational interests; the strengthening of decision-making structures far above and far below the grasp of newly minted national democracies; and, above all, the integration of the Soviet and Chinese empires into the global market system. There was no name for this very grand agenda that I had heard anyone use, so later I named it myself–the Global Governance Agenda”.
Strong himself gave some insight into what this agenda actually entailed for the average man or woman in a 1972 BBC interview prior to the start of the Stockholm summit. Discussing the “overpopulation problem” then en vogue as the environmental cause du jour, Strong admitted to his musings on the potential for reproductive licenses:
“Licenses to have babies incidentally is something that I got in trouble for some years ago for suggesting even in Canada that this might be necessary at some point, at least some restriction on the right to have a child. I’m not proposing this, I was simply predicting this as one of the possible courses that society would have to seriously consider should we get ourselves into this kind of situation”.
That Strong was so successful in promoting his ‘global governance’ agenda for so many decades is a testament not to his own visionary leadership, as so many globalists profess, but to the incredible resources of the Rockefellers and Rothschilds and others who are funding this agenda into existence and pushing it along at every step.
It is some measure of good fortune, then, that Strong’s decades of deceit finally came to an end (more or less) in 2005, when, as Quadrant Online notes, he was finally caught ‘with his hand in the till’:
“Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since”.
Although still making appearances at various events around the world, Strong led a much more low key existence for the past decade, likely slowed by the ravages of advancing age. But now that he has finally passed away, we are left to be subjected to yet more nauseatingly lavish praise for this man and the many globalist institutions that comprise his legacy.
No, it is not difficult to understand why Maurice Strong was so beloved of the globalist jet set. Just don’t expect any of the members of that jet set to tell you this story in any detail.
Illustrations of the original post:
- Photo of Maurice Strong over a background of a parched landscape and a seal of the UN.
- Photo of Anna Louise Strong, aunt of Maurice Strong, next to Mao Zedong and other Chinese dignitaries. Anna Strong was a committed communist who befriended Lenin and Trotsky.
- Picture of the Alberta oil patch, where Maurice Strong worked after he heft his job with the United Nations.
- Photo of young Maurice Stong in front of the Chairman desk in a UN conference.
- Photo of George Bush, the President of the United States, addressing the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
- Picture of the outdoor plaque of the Baca Grande ranch in the San Luis Valley in Colorado, that Maurice Strong acquired, which became the site of the Manitou Foundation, a New Age institution. He also created The Conservation Fund, with financial help from the philantropist Laurance Rockefeller, to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain.
- Photo of Maurice Strong speaking during a conference where he announced the creation of the Earth Charter.
- Photo of a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong, issued by a Jordanian bank, endorsed with Maurice Srong’s signature.
Published originally in TheInternationalForecaster.com,
on 31 January 2016
 New Age is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary online as “a way of life and thinking that developed in the late 1980s, based on ideas that existed before modern scientific and economic theories.” This definition puts the movement within the postmodernist doctrine.
Postmodernism and how it ushered the Age of Dishonesty
Modernity and postmodernity
Modernity and postmodernity are different conceptions of the world. Whereas modernity is based on the Enlightenment and the advances of rationalism and science, postmodernity is based on the break with the Enlightenment and the rigor of rationalism and science. The beginnings of Postmodernism can be traced to the structuralist linguistic school which had emerged within the current conception of modernity, whose ‘structuralist’ idea was an overview of the world based on knowledge and reality. Such idea was absorbed by other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, where it was targeted by dissenters, giving origin to the philosophical doctrine of ‘structuralism’ which was eventually identified as ‘Poststructuralism’. The latter rejected the modernity world view, and came to be known as Postmodernism. The respective approaches to modernity and postmodernity correspond with Structuralism and Poststructuralism. Thus, modernity and structuralism have become synonymous, as have postmodernity and poststructuralism.
Postmodernism, deconstructionism and constructivism
Postmodernism is an ambiguous ideology that is difficult to define except for its purpose of destroying modernity and replacing it with the postmodernity of Marxist inspiration. The ambiguity of postmodernism has served well to conceal its falsehoods. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and thinker rightly described postmodernism as Marxism with a new skin.
The falsehood of postmodernism lies not only in its method of falsifying realities, such as creating media icons, but also on the way it undermines the Enlightenment, rationality, science, etc. These two methods are called deconstructionism and constructivism. The objective of deconstructionism is to destroy modernity and the objective of constructionism is to create postmodernity.
Deconstructionism is the process of debasing the things characteristic of modernism by attacking its metanarratives, reducing them to arbitrary sequences of linguistic signs or words, and then replacing original meanings with others, to finally conclude that no interpretation of these word sequences is more correct than another.
Constructivism is the process of creating abstractions – constructs – through rhetoric. While there are certain commonly accepted constructs, such as state, money, law, and national identities, the constructivism of the postmodernist doctrine is radical, irrational, and dishonest, as it is based on the premise that everything is a matter of semantics.
Deconstructionism began in the midst of the Marxist French intelligentsia, with Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) the recognized father of this movement. Initially deconstructionism was a form of literary criticism, but when absorbed by the humanities and social sciences, it had other applications. Derrida believed that Western thought has been addicted since Plato’s time by a tumor he called ‘logocentrism’, referring to the assumption that language describes the world quite transparently. In Derrida’s view, the description of the world through language is an illusion, and language itself is not impartial and words prevent us from actually experiencing reality directly. What Derrida wants is to tear down the belief in an objective external reality that can be explored through language, rationality, and science, and to show that the Enlightenment’s grand narrative is nothing but a delusion. Derrida’s method of destroying language is deconstruction – a technique that makes us see that the ‘signifiers’ – the words themselves in the Saussurean system – are so ambiguous and changeable that they can mean something or nothing.
The idea of constructivism predates modernity, but the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) introduced the concept in modern times, to describe how children create a mental model of the world. Although postmoderns seem to like the connection with Piaget, Piagetian constructivism is positive, while the constructivism adopted the postmodernists is negative. Piagetian constructivism states that knowledge is something constructed by the individual based on his interactions with the physical world and the social world. Postmodern constructivism claims knowledge is socially constructed. In order to distinguish postmodernist constructivism from Piagetian constructivism the former came to be known as social constructivism or socioconstructivism.
What is the intention of Postmodernism?
The intention of Postmodernism is to create a hood to conceal the propeling of a new Marxist socialist revolution. Its main weapons are deconstructionism, which is used to debase rationalism and science, and socioconstructivism, which is used to create political identity groups and leaders through imagery and rhetoric. The strategy of postmodernism is to subliminally create a postmodern disposition or mindset, a postmodern Zeitgeist.
The objective of Marxist socialism is to create an ideal society, and in order to attain that objective it rejects society. The samething can be said about Postmodernism, for it too rejects reality and longs for an idealized reality. The fact that the various attempts to implement the ideal society ended up in genocidal tyrannies has turned many people away from socialism, and postmodernism became a solution to this problem, with sophisticated tactics to win people’s hearts and minds. As Jordan Peterson cleverly pointed out, postmodernism is Marxist socialism with a different cloack.
In the postmodern mindset, reality is what is spoken, and the best way to speak is to appear in the media. That’s where the obsession with fame and famous came from. The postmodern mindset longs for strong identities because they are shortcuts to power. However, an individual’s genuine identity is based on his cognitive abilities and cultural background, and, generally plain and unremarcable. The way the postmodern mindset conteract this is by exchanging the genuine identity for the ‘persona’ – “a kind of mask, designed for the double purpose of giving a firm impression to others, and hiding the true nature of the individual,” as shown by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
The bad consequences of Postmodernism
In the Zeitgeist of postmodernity, authenticity went out of the window, and appearance trumps substance.
In the postmodern Zeitgeist, the loss of the genuineness of the individual has been accompanied by the loss of the spontaneity of social processes. The diminution of social trust is just one of the unintended consequence of the postmodern Zeitgeist, as it leads to two errors of judgment: valuing the undeserving and failing to value the deserving. Basically, it means the end of meritocracy, which is a waste of human capital whose social consequences are yet to be assessed.
The beginning of the postmodern world
The beginning of the postmodern world can be traced back to the 1960s, when the boundaries between high and low culture were blurred. This allowed the emergence of Pop Art and its settlement as a form of popular power. One of its leaders, Andy Warhol (1928-1987), predicted that “in the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”
Wherever postmodernism is found, its entry has been sneaky. Postmodernism entered Latin America via the socialist networks of universities, where it became nested in the humanities and the social sciences. From there it penetrated into the trade unions and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In Latin America, Postmodernism was initially housed in universities, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and from there to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and political identity groups. Western Civilization is a major target of Postmodernism, and Latin American postmodernists have longed preached Latin Americans to reject it altogether. The result of that was that the postmodernist converts, who are basically the converts of left-wing politics, developed the desire to be defined entirely by internal characteristics. Those who were not converted, continued to take for granted that Latin America was a sub culture of Western Civilization. There is an obvious cognitive dissonance in Latin America regarding civilizational identity, and such dissonance is one of the reasons why the political scientist Samuel Huntington (1927-2008) did not include Latin America as part of Western Civilization in his book Clash of Civilizations (1997).
The rise of Socioconstrutivism
Socioconstructivism became common in Latin America from the 1980s, something that can be deduced from the large numbers of artificially created heroes and heroines. The socioconstructivism method consists of five main steps: (i) choosing sympathetic causes such as the defence of forests, animals, and oppressed groups; (ii) to co-opt leadership from known bases; (iii) increase the profiles of these leaders by persuading journalists to publish stories about them; (iv) indicate the leaders chosen to participate in donor organizations; and (v) nominate the leaders chosen for available awards and lobby them with the awarding institutions.
The choice of cause requires care and attention. For example, in the case of an NGO linked to the indigenous cause, the more colourful tribes still practicing their dances and ceremonies are more promising than those that are less colourful and more acculturated. Once the cause is chosen, the next step is to choose the most promising individuals in terms of appearance and malleability to be promoted to the media.
Backstage machinations to build leadership and to attract the interest of journalists are unethical, and they create a danger for critics or whistle-blowers who do not accept lies and half-truths. Thus, socioconstructivism has a protective cover against whistle-blowers, so that any criticism of the NGO’s financial management or its lies and half-truths is perceived as a vile attack on a noble cause, that is, the oppressed group, the forest, or the charismatic animal, causing the critic to be labelled racist and worse things.
One of the few examples to be reported in the international press was the story of young Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchú, who was transformed into a heroine of her tribe and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. However, when anthropologist David Stoll decided to evaluate the merit of Menchú, discovered that his narrative of the genocide of his people in the early 1980s in autobiographical book I, Rigoberta Menchú (Verso, 1984), was full of inconsistencies and even lies, and that the same book, edited With the help of several people, he had an agenda to help the guerrillas to which Menchú had joined in 1981. Stoll published his findings in the book Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans (1999), but the truth he expounded was ignored and he himself was considered an enemy of the indigenous peoples. What happened to David Stoll discouraged any similar denunciation. It was evidence of the protective cover of sociocontructivism, analogous to that of viruses. Another example was the transformation of Paulinho Paiakan, a Kayapo indian chief from Southern Pará, Brazil, into an icon to represent the cause of the Brazilian rainforest during the Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.
Ordinary people, who understand what is known as the public, have a duty to be aware of what is happening around them. The questions they should ask are of the type ‘for whom’, as those below.
i) Is socioconstructivism good for the oppressed individuals to whom they advocate?
ii) Is socioconstructivism good for society?
iii) Who gains with socioconstructivism?
Although socioconstructivism purports to care for the downtrodden and the oppressed, is a paternalistic form of collectivism that robs the individual of his right to be himself and to develop his potential. To society itself, the lies and half-truths of socioconstructivism corrode social trust, creating a society of low confidence that is extremely unfavourable to economic development. Anyone who takes the trouble to examine socioconstructivism will realize that it only perpetuates oppression and that the only persons who gain from socioconstructivism are the socioconstructivists themselves, who win the ears the left-leaning journalists and NGOs, through which they gain unfair advantages in both the public sphere and the circles of power.
Postmodernism is Marxism itself with another skin. Both employ the same language of resentment, anger and envy. While traditional Marxism praised the destruction of capitalism that would occur as a result of the socialist revolution, postmodernism (or neomarxism) planned and launched a coverted revolution. Western civilization succumbed to Postmodernism and became its prisoner. The demeaning of the larger society through its fragmentation into political identity groups, the lack of genuineness and spontaneity, and the abundance of fabricated leaders are all consequences of Postmodernism. Deconstructionism and socioconstructivism, the most potent weapons of Postmodernism serve their leaders, who are the puppeteers controlling their fabricated figureheads. They don’t serve society but themselves. Society as a whole has lost a great deal due to the machinations of Postmodernism, from genuineness and spontaneity to trust among their citizens. There are several reasons why Postmodernism is wrong, but the most abhorrent one is its falsehood.
Joaquina Pires-O’Brien is a Brazilian who lives in the UK. In 2010 she started PortVitoria, a magazine of the Iberian culture, for speakers of Portuguese, Spanish and English. Link: www.portvitoria.com
Read the next post by guest blogger James Corbett: Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’
The most dangerous thing about the Amazon fires is the apocalyptic rhetoric
Moralising on social media from footballers, actors and politicians is doing harm
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese expert on forests who also plays football, so when he shared a picture online of a recent forest fire in the Amazon, it went viral. Perhaps he was in a rush that day to get out of the laboratory to football training, because it later transpired that the photograph was actually taken in 2013, not this year, and in southern Brazil, nowhere near the Amazon.
But at least his picture was only six years old. Emmanuel Macron, another forest ecologist who moonlights as president of France, claimed that ‘the Amazon rainforest — the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire!’ alongside a picture that was 20 years old. A third bioscientist, who goes under the name of Madonna and sings, capped both their achievements by sharing a 30-year-old picture.
Now imagine if some celebrity — Donald Trump, say, or Nigel Lawson — had shared a picture of a pristine tropical forest with the caption ‘Amazon rainforest’s doing fine!’ and it had turned out to be decades old or from the wrong area. The BBC’s ‘fact-checkers’ would have been all over it, seizing the opportunity to mock, censor and ostracise.
In fact, ‘Amazon rainforest’s doing fine’ is a lot closer to the truth than ‘Amazon rainforest — the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire!’. The forest is not on fire. The vast majority of this year’s fires are on farmland or already cleared areas, and the claim that the Amazon forest produces 20 per cent of the oxygen in the air is either nonsensical or wrong depending on how you interpret it (in any case, lungs don’t produce oxygen). The Amazon, like every ecosystem, consumes about as much oxygen through respiration as it produces through photosynthesis so there is no net contribution; and even on a gross basis, the Amazon comprises less than 6 per cent of oxygen production, most of which happens in the ocean.
But it is the outdated nature of the pictures shared by celebs that is most revealing, because the number of fires in Brazil this year is more than last year, but about the same as in 2016 and less than in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012. For most of those years, Brazil’s president was a socialist, not a right-wing populist, so in BBC-world those fires did not count. More significantly, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon basin is down by 70 per cent since 2004.
It is probably true that President Jair Bolsonaro’s rhetoric has encouraged those who want to resume logging and clearing forest and contributed to this year’s uptick in fires in the country. But was it really necessary to claim global catastrophe to make this point, and was it counterproductive? ‘Macron’s tweet had the same impact on Bolsonaro’s base as Hillary calling Trump’s base deplorable,’ says one Brazilian commentator.
I sometimes wonder if the line wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, ‘a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on’, is now taken as an instruction by environmental pressure groups. They operate in a viciously competitive market for media attention and donations, and those who scream loudest do best, even if it later turns out they were telling fibs.
Around the world, wild fires are generally declining, according to Nasa. Deforestation, too, is happening less and less. The United Nations’ ‘state of the world’s forests’report concluded last year that ‘the net loss of forest area continues to slow, from 0.18 per cent [a year] in the 1990s to 0.08 per cent over the last five-year period’. A study in Nature last year by scientists from the University of Maryland concluded that even this is too pessimistic: ‘We show that — contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally — tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1 per cent relative to the 1982 level).’
This net increase is driven by rapid reforestation in cool, rich countries outweighing slower net deforestation in warm, poor countries. But more and more nations are now reaching the sort of income levels at which they stop deforesting and start reforesting. Bangladesh, for example, has been increasing its forest cover for several years. Costa Rica has doubled its tree cover in 40 years. Brazil is poised to join the reforesters soon.
Possibly the biggest driver of this encouraging trend is the rising productivity of agriculture. The more yields increase, the less land we need to steal from nature to feed ourselves. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University has calculated that the world needs only 35 per cent as much land to produce a given quantity of food as 50 years ago. That has spared wild land on a massive scale.
Likewise, getting people on to fossil fuels and away from burning wood for fuel spares trees. It is in the poorest countries, mainly in Africa, that men and women still gather firewood for cooking and bushmeat for food, instead of using electricity or gas and farmed meat.
The trouble with the apocalyptic rhetoric is that it can seem to justify drastic but dangerous solutions. The obsession with climate change has slowed the decline of deforestation. An estimated 700,000 hectares of forest has been felled in South-East Asia to grow palm oil to add to supposedly green ‘bio-diesel’ fuel in Europe, while the world is feeding 5 per cent of its grain crop to motor cars rather than people, which means 5 per cent of cultivated land that could be released for forest. Britain imports timber from wild forests in the Americas to burn for electricity at Drax in North Yorkshire, depriving beetles and woodpeckers of their lunch.
The temptation to moralise on social media is so strong among footballers, actors and politicians alike that it is actually doing harm. Get the economic incentives right and the world will save its forests. Preach and preen and prevaricate, and you’ll probably end up inadvertently depriving more toucans and tapirs of their rainforest habitat.
Note. Taken from The Spectator, digital edition, 31 August 2019. Translated by Jo Pires-O’Brien, editor of PortVitoria.
Matt Ridley (1958-) is a British journalist, businessman and author of several provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards. He is also known as the 5th Viscount Ridley DL FRSL FmedSci, a member of the House of Lords.