The Country of the Future No More
This essay is not really about Jair Bolsonaro, but about how his emergence forces a critical reassessment of some cherished narratives about Brazil. It is an essay about a peculiarly Brazilian eschatology focused on the millenarianism of the present. Before there was the Country of the Future—a phrase known to all—, there was the history of the future, one of many prophetic discourses in colonial Brazil. Therefore, this distillation is, necessarily, about the respective weight given to the future and the past. Its argument is that all the future talk was never truly about progress—much less order, to cite that other Positivist emblem from the Brazilian flag—but about the End of History, before it was even a thing, or as framed by Francis Fukuyama. The Country of the Future was about leaping from the present into the future with the levity rather than the weight of the past.