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Arestas do Brasil / Edges of Brazil

Ignorance in its fullness

Bruno Peron, 28 April 2017

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It is true that Brazilians are creative and recreational beings. In various moments, I emphasised that these are the common traces of our people. There are many proofs for my argument: the abundance of political satires and funny videos that circulate over social networks, the ability to laugh at our own misery and the festive pace that spreads in the country throughout the year. The euphoria of creativity and mockery, however, comes up against another characteristic of Brazilians, which I refer to as ignorance.

Brazilians tend to know less than they appear to, they often use that which they know to mislead and oppress others or even to impose their superiority on those who know less, and they seize any opportunity for easy enrichment to the detriment of the other. Besides, Brazilians have difficulty to learn, maybe because they do not mind the benefits of education. They do not understand education as an investment for life and for the country but as a tedious obligation.

Thus naming Brazil a “Homeland That Educates” (in Portuguese, “Pátria Educadora”), as politics from the Workers’ Party have done, is nonsensical and impertinent. People who make a living by sucking on the tits of government –although some politicians are well intentioned, I agree ­– will hardly change the way of operation of the public Machine and of society. Let us look at the case of the City Council (“Câmara de Vereadores”, as in Portuguese) in the city of São Paulo: cup-bearers, shoe shiners, valet parkings and coffee makers earn over ten thousand reais monthly. This is an example of ignorant people who abuse of Brazilians’ ignorance.

That is why, reader, we must face instruction as liberator and regenerator. Learn and understand as much as you can. Gradually, Brazil should watch the end of civil service as we currently know it, since society is the one which has served the civil servants and not the opposite, as it should be. They are an aberrant and unnecessary expenditure, spoilers of Brazilian development. Before long, workers and entrepreneurs will be better paid for the result of their own effort. These people will not have to support the selfish roundworms of Brazil’s public Machine. Instead, management councils would be formed to reduce radically the size of state in a way that public services would become more efficient. Likewise, there would be incentives to a revolution in education, which would free Brazilians from their sense of conviction, opportunism and rudeness.

The world has become more competitive. The ascension of countries such as China, India and Thailand has been possible –although there are contradictions –as they struggle to have the best product price and quality within a global and disputed market. However, Brazil appears to the world as a stronghold of corrupt politicians (such is the worldwide visibility of its Jet Wash Operation!) and exporter of cheap and little transformed raw material (sugar, soy, cattle). Brazil’s government has not encouraged basic education and the taste for science in children and teenagers. Instead, it spends a lot of money on few expensive researchers from public universities who do not bring much return and on farming companies that ruin the country’s ecology.

The culture of work is underdeveloped in Brazil because it originates, partly, in the poverty of instruction that is offered to its children and teenagers. It is necessary to stimulate creativity and Brazilians’ sense of fun in relation to education in order to form citizens and beings who would be therefore prepared for a competitive market. Otherwise, we would have to condescend to this clash of worlds between the learned and the ignorant that we witness daily in the public spaces.