There are people who believe that the coronavirus is an instrument of world domination created by the enemies of their country.
They are the same who believe that when their candidates fail, there has been fraud or that everything the leader says is simply a translation of the wishes of the people.
These are the people who support Donald Trump in his attempted coup whose pathetic, fleeting, and atrocious end was the assault on Capitol Hill.
In short, we are witnessing a new version of unreality in the long web of historical conspiracy. Or, to put it another way: there is a new configuration of anti-vaccines and anti-democrats in a post-fascist key.
Like fascisms, new populisms mix, distort, and deny science through conspiratorial fantasies.
In the United States, which today has the largest number of vaccine doses available, incumbent President Trump has yet to be vaccinated, despite the advice and frustration of some of his staff.
In fact, the large number of Americans who do not consider getting vaccinated are widely distinguished by their “Trumpism” at the political level.
Thus, illusions and lies used in political circles abound.
For example, Trumpist ideologues, often posted or reposted by their defeated leader, argue that vaccines are a form of state social and demographic control or a weapon deliberately used by China.
Thus, the national and global vaccination campaign is portrayed by fanatical Christian evangelists and QAnon conspiracy theorists who believe Trump has been confronted and is facing a conspiracy of satanic cannibal pedophiles who dominate the Democratic Party, Hollywood and global finance.
According to this illusion, this conspiracy is responsible for all the problems in the world, and that would also include vaccines.
In this context, reality is falsified by denial of science, disease and election results.
As the Washington Post points out, many who profess the obvious lie of a vaccine plot to control people’s bodies are the same who believe the big lie of a Trump victory in the presidential election.
In particular, it should come as no surprise that people who deny reality in general also deny it in the special sense of vaccines.
What we are now seeing globally is a new political alliance of the ignorant, the gullible and the liars.
Before Trump, “anti-taxxers” had no political movement to channel their paranoia. This is now possible for many of them, as American populist historian Richard J. Hofstadter warned, conspiracy theory and blind suspicion were at the heart of the xenophobic populist style in the United States.
But if at Trump this situation is presented in an ambiguous way, in the sense that he too, in a contradictory way, wants to present himself as the main supporter of the vaccine, in this sense the Republican plays two roles: “pro-vaccine” for the public independent and “anti-vaccine” for your followers.
In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has taken a clearly obscurantist position. He looks back on a Brazilian experience spanning more than a century as a leader in mass vaccination campaigns.
If Brazil has been an example for Latin America and the world, it is today the opposite, a country ruled by an extreme paranoid who praises the farce.
Bolsonaro said he is not planning to be vaccinated and even argued that the vaccine could grow beards in women and men to become crocodiles or start talking in “effeminate” ways.
As in the United States, the Pfizer vaccine is the main victim of this campaign of falsification of reality which contains homophobic, xenophobic and nationalist elements.
None of this is new, because, as Hofstadter said, the paranoid style existed long before and was in fact the main mark of reactionaries, and after fascists and anti-Semites: “This style has existed for a long time before the extreme right. find out, and their targets ranged from the “international bank” to the Freemasons, including the Jesuits and the arms manufacturers.
This has not always been the case in the history of classical populism. It was precisely the first populist regimes to come to power after 1945 that left these illusions behind. When necessary, populism turned to science.
And indeed, historically, in classic times of populist rule, science has not been attacked and scientific and medical development has generally not been ignored.
Besides the folklore of spiritualism so well portrayed by the writer Tomás Eloy Martínez in “La soap opera de Perón”, on the occult and the magic of Peronism of Triple A with José López Rega and Isabel Perón as leaders, Peronism as populism in general, was not reactionary in its relation to science.
Support for the science extends to the health of the leaders themselves, who in many cases have promised to be vaccinated first. The situation is very different for the new far-right populisms. For them, the vaccine conspiracy is real, and the reality is simply disposable.
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Translation by Maria Isabel Santos Lima