Carvalho and Dugin

There’s more in the Guardian piece on Brazilian flat earthers that I quoted in the previous post:

…Olavo de Carvalho – a former astrologer who is considered the intellectual guru of Bolsonaro and his inner circle – prompted outrage and ridicule when he tweeted: “I didn’t study the subject of the flat Earth. I just watched a few videos of experiments that show that aquatic surfaces are flat – and so far I haven’t found anything to refute them.”

That’s very much in character with the man. Curiously, the argument – “I watched videos and haven’t found anything to refute them” – comes from the creationist handbook. Put in a different way, “this theory is imperfect, therefore unicorns exist.”

Carvalho – who has also claimed Pepsi was sweetened with aborted foetuses and that oral sex can cause cancer – dined with Bolsonaro and Steve Bannon in Washington during the Brazilian president’s state visit to the US in March.

Not just this – he’s denied pretty much everything that’s happened in natural science since about 1600. Newton was a charlatan; there’s no proof the Earth revolves around the Sun; Einstein made up special relativity to mask this fact; in addition, Einstein stole his theory from someone else.

The last charge is a familiar meme, common among paranoid anti-Semites, but the rest is out of the ordinary. And yet, I’ve heard it already, slightly modified: Galileo was a charlatan whose wool-pulling experiments threw science off the right track, and so on. The drivel came from Alexander Dugin, the Russian philosophical crackpot and something of a performance artist.

On closer inspection, I was astonished how much the two fonts of wisdom, Carvalho and Dugin, have in common. They may even have sprung from the same source, showering the dumbstruck reader with a marvellous flow of ideas or, to translate more literally, dazzling the audience with an extraordinary facility in their thoughts. Naturally, they disagree on America’s role in the world and a lot of other things but their approach to thinking allows them to draw any conclusions that need to be drawn.

However, their roles and importance in the politics of their native countries are quite different. It’s been reported that Jair Bolsonaro and his sons are in touch with Carvalho and regard him as a mentor, while Dugin’s influence on Putin has always been a tenuous conjecture.

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