Things That Matter

Brazil’s President Openly Admits That This Super Right-Wing Personality From Virginia Influenced His Politics

With over 750,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Virginia based Olavo de Carvalho has become a siren caller for the conservative right in Brazil. When Carvalho first moved to Virginia from his home of Brazil, he was unfamiliar with the American right-wing culture. Since his move, he’s taken up hunting, donned cowboy hats, and enjoyed the liberties of lax gun laws in the U.S. He’s also been listening to a lot of Rush Limbaugh, and is effectively serving as the Brazilian, Portuguese-speaking spokesperson for Limbaugh’s ideology.

Without American conservative politics, as we know it, there wouldn’t be an Olavo de Carvalho. Without Carvalho, Jair Bolsonaro likely wouldn’t be the current President of Brazil.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

Carvalho is a published author on a range of topics from astrology to literature to philosophy. Once he harnessed his own social media platforms, his conspiracy theories spread, along with his ideology. He has published 32 books, many of which are just collections of his publications. 

Carvalho is proud to be a “self-taught” philosopher and his expansive library alludes to his way of thinking.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / YouTube

His study is filled to the brim with philosophical texts. Like many Virginians, he has more than one rifle and boasts of the animals he’s hunted and killed. Like many Catholic Latinos, every room has a space for a crucifix.

Bolsonaro’s own son, Eduardo, credits Carvalho as a critical influencer in his father’s rise to power.

Credit: @AndrewDFish / Twitter

“We couldn’t have won the election without Olavo,” Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo said in March. “Without Olavo, there would be no President Bolsonaro.” That’s a pretty bold statement, and it’s not without truth.

Eduardo even traveled to Virginia to take a private class with Carvalho in 2013.

Credit: @reaconaria / Twitter

Since then, the Bolsonaros and Carvalho began a critical relationship that has affected all of Brazil. Jair and Olavo have been in both private and very public communication like YouTube published video discussions. Now, Carvalho gets the seat beside Bolsonaro at official dinners at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington.

Bolsonaro is such a fan of Carvalho’s political thinking, he’s awarded him the highest civilian honor during a top-shelf ceremony.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

In May of this year, Bolsonaro gathered the country’s vice president and justice minister to award Carvalho one of Brazil’s highest honors. In Bolsonaro’s first Facebook live video as President, he pictured one of Carvalho’s books within the frame, signaling the clear influence Carvalho has had on his politics.

At one point, there were rumors that Carvalho would be nominated as the Brazilian ambassador to the United States.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

That did not come into fruition because of Carvalho’s own divisive rhetoric. Carvalho created an enemy out of Vice President Mourão by calling him a “traitor,” “idiot” and accused him of being “pro-abortion, pro-disarmament and pro-Nicolas Maduro.” All of these clashes pulled him out of the running to become an ambassador. 

To be clear, Carvalho’s intellectual contemporaries include the likes of Steve Bannon.

Credit: @Edourdoo / Twitter

Between the two of them, conspiracy theories about the fallacy of climate change and the false concept that the Inquisition never happened have been spread across the Americas. Carvalho also helped spread the lie that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and spread a rumor that Bolsonaro’s opponent promoted incest. 

Carvalho has spoken out against what he calls “gayzismo,” or ‘gayism’ as a threat to society.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

He says that it is ‘incompatible’ with democracy. In his political philosophy, democracy first (and seemingly only) serves the majority. So if a trans person needs to pee in the bathroom that matches their gender, and it conflicts with the values of the majority, his version of democracy leans toward the majority. Democracy is majority rule, even in relation to basic human rights.

In many ways, Carvalho is to Bolsonaro as Fox & Friends is to Trump.

Credit: @ernestofaraujo / Twitter

Bolsonaro regards Carvalho’s opinion in the highest regard. So high, in fact, folks have called Carvalho the guru and “ideologue” of Bolsonaro. Carvalho has rejected these claims, though they have certainly fed his ego. In a recent interview, he told The Washington Post reporters, “I’m the most-read writer in Brazil. . . . I’m a tremendous writer.” He’s certainly being read by the right people.

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