Sunday, February 22, 2015

Culturist Lessons from Rio's Carnaval

I am in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for carnaval - the biggest party in the world. Drums and costumes, imagination and dance, pervade the megalopolis.  Taking part in this celebration has provided me with some valuable culturist insights. 

Culturism is the science and art by which nations protect, promote their traditional majority cultures.  It is the opposite, therefore, of multiculturalism, where nations are to deny they have a majority culture and promote other cultures within their borders.

Carnaval is a great culturist tool.  The costumed drum and dance troupes, usually including over 3,000 people, are largely drawn from poor neighborhoods; this creates community cohesion.  Ultimately, people of all races and classes get involved.  In the end, this televised explosion of light, color and fun, unites all Brazilians by making them proud of their vibrant culture.

Art can help bind a nation.  When possible, culturism should be fun!! And, to be effective, it should invite wide participation.

Walking home from one of the massive carnaval-related events tonight, I stopped at a food cart.  A 30-something brown-skinned woman took dough and cut it way too slowly, then she put meat on it, wrapped it, and dropped it in a frying vat.  While waiting I spoke with a local man in Spanish. 

He probed, “The US is very capitalistic, eh?”  “Well,” I replied, “you couldn’t just set up a stand like this in the US.  You’d need a business license and the food server would need certificates.  We couldn’t be drinking beers on the street like this.”

We regulate street-level economic activity far more than other nations.  Allowing more sidewalk shops and street food vending in the US would give people easy access to self-employment.  This would make the transition from welfare to work much more feasible. 

My walk home from the carnaval street party took me between neighboring wealthy homes and ghettoes called ‘favelas.’  Favelas consist of improvised brick mountainside homes stacked on top of each other.  In America building homes means adhering to byzantine codes. The favela homes can be rented and sold. Loosening building codes could raise levels of home ownership.

Rio’s favelas are safe now, but they used to be ruled by brutal drug gangs.  These same drug gangs launder money through supporting carnaval.  The police and military battled these forces and won.  Brazil’s heavily armed police still have a heavy presence in the favelas.

Governments must forcefully combat bad people for good people to have a decent quality of life.  Sometimes this requires armored cars and heavy artillery.

These culturist proposals run against our Protestant-Enlightenment culture, from which well-built homes, food served in proper restaurants, and self-policing naturally stem.  But, as we import millions who value babies much more than education, whose culture is rife with gangs, as we increasingly embrace carnaval-style commercialized sensuality, Rio offers culturist tools with which to soften the downfall.