Napoleon said this in 1806 after his army defeated the Prussians. Having risen up from the bottom, and observed politics and society, he concluded that average people collectively suffer from what we today would call bipolar disorder – i.e. they are obedient as long as they are winning as a group, but they howl for their leader’s head the minute something goes wrong.
Napoleon brought order and prosperity to France, doing away with feudal law and hereditary titles (except his own). He was loved as long as he was winning, but after his disastrous occupation of Spain, and the retreat from Russia in 1812, the mob burned him in effigy, and demanded the return of the monarchy that had enslaved them before, and would enslave them again.
Bonaparte escaped to the island of Elba by using a British ship, even though he had always been at war with Britain.
He who would save the world must walk a tightrope. The more happiness he brings to average people, the more he will be crucified when something goes wrong.
Put another way, the masses will submit to almost any degree of abuse by government, but they will revolt the minute their cherished savior makes a mistake.
Neoliberals understand this. They know it is dangerous to treat the mob with kindness. They know they must enslave average people, since this makes average people blame each other for their problems, rather than blame their rich oppressors.
Indeed, when average people are abused, they believe the lie that their government has run out of money, no matter how many times they are told otherwise by government officials…
They believe the lie that their government is “bankrupt” because it justifies their hatred of each other. It gives them a reason to grumble. They resent the idea that anyone (other than themselves, and rich people) gets government benefits. They act as a mob.
This is what we are dealing with…
In Brazil the neoliberals of the new (post-coup) government know they must crush the masses if Brazil is to be calmed down. Therefore the coup plotters have announced that they will impose drastic austerity on the lower classes because of a “budget shortfall.” This is a lie, of course, since the government creates Brazilian reais out of thin air.
The neoliberals will begin by eliminating 36 million people (including 17 million children) from the Bolsa Familia program, which provides financial aid to poor Brazilian families. About 26% of the Brazilian population depends on this program.
The neoliberals have also announced that they will take private ownership of Brazil’s airports, utilities and the post office. They will also “reform” (i.e. cut) Brazil’s social security system, using the excuse is that Brazil has a (fake) “national debt crisis,” and that the social security system is “unsustainable.”
As you can see, neoliberal lies are the same in every nation, since mob psychology is the same. If you grind the masses into the dirt, they may not love you, but they will envy and respect you. Most importantly, they will obey you.
The new post-coup president, Michel Temer, says that austerity will end Brazil’s recession. He knows that austerity will worsen the recession, but Temer doesn’t care, since the recession will only hurt the real economy, not the financial economy. Austerity only hurts Main Street, not Wall Street.
In Brazil, the Workers’ Party was popular as long as the global commodities boom kept Brazil’s economy strong and expansive. Brazil even became a net lender in its own currency. But when China’s economy cooled, and the commodity boom ended, the middle and upper classes called for President Dilma Rousseff’s head, and cheered when she was deposed in a coup.
Now the mob will be crushed under the heel of neoliberal billionaires. Average people will blame each other for their suffering, rather than blame their oppressors. White Brazilians will blame darker-skinned Brazilians, who will blame immigrants, who will blame “gay rights” people, who will blame “straight” people. Jews will condemn all non-Jews as “anti-Semites.” Non-Jews will condemn all Muslims as terrorists. Anti-abortion people will blame pro-abortion people. And so on, and on. The masses will divide and conquer themselves, while the gap between them and the rich will become wider than ever. Poverty will grow like a cancer.
Speaking of Brazil, a strange event happened today that I can’t yet explain. The Folha de São Paulo (Brazil’s largest newspaper in terms of circulation) published proof (proof) that the coup against President Rousseff was designed to end the nationwide “Operation Car Wash” corruption probe. That is, politicians supported the coup in order to spare themselves from prosecution.
Folha de São Paulo (lit. “São Paulo Newspaper”) produced transcripts of a 75-minute phone conversation between the newly-installed Planning Minister, Romero Jucá (a senator at the time) and former oil executive Sergio Machado. The transcripts reveal how these two men plotted the coup with the cooperation of officials in the military and Supreme Court. They all agreed that removing President Rousseff would be the only way to end the nationwide corruption investigation.
It is not known who recorded and leaked the 75-minute conversation, but Folha de São Paulo reports that the files are currently in the hand of the prosecutor general.
My question is why would a corporate media outlet publish such a transcript.
Perhaps the U.S. National Security Agency recorded and leaked the conversation in order to expose a few people in the post-coup government that the U.S. government wants removed. Perhaps Washington does not approve of Romero Jucá, the minister of planning. Mr. Jucá admits that the recording is authentic, but he claims that it was all a “misunderstanding.”
Or perhaps Washington wants to replace President Temer with someone less hated by the masses. Someone who doesn’t act and dress like a gangster. Ever since Temer’s installation as president, Brazil has seen intense and growing protests against him. Temer has had to put soldiers around his house.
None of this will reverse the coup, but it will be amusing to watch the developments.