by Plinio Corręa de Oliveira (*)


APPARENTLY, public opinion is rather unfamiliar with an option that the press is, all the while, imposing more and more upon all men.

This option is being promoted worldwide through a slogan that has the appearance of a mere play on words: "bet­ter red than dead." Everyone knows what this means: it is better to become a Red, accept the humiliating imposition of the communist regime, conform to the moral, social and economic anti-Christian organization inherent to it, rather than run the risk of a nuclear bombardment.

Let the truth be said. The meaning of that slogan is that life — yes, earthly life — is man's supreme good. One can infer from this that love of the Faith, national independence, personal dignity and honor must be less than love of life. Whence all the martyrs and all the soldiers who heretofore understood the contrary are imbeciles. By comparison, those who renounced the Faith, fled the field of battle, or basely acquiesced to any insult to save their own skins, were despised as poltroons.

The old table of standards has been inverted. The martyrs and war heroes who stood out in the ranks of humanity's elites should now be considered idiots. Also idiots, in the eyes of the public, are the moralists, orators and poets who stressed the supposed sublimity with which those imbeciles speedily pursued holocaust. Finally, the old dithyrambs to religious or civil heroism must be silenced and give way to the praise of imbecility, which drags the weak into following it.

Long live the poltroons! Their era of glory has arrived. Should "better red than dead" prevail, they will constitute the flower of humanity, the astute and security minded herd of those who have deified egoism. This is the apotheosis of Sancho Panza. How far this century had to fall to be consistent with the long process of decadence Christian Civilization was in was in when it awakened to history! I can already hear someone saying to me, "If we don't opt for the apotheosis of Sancho Panza, we will necessarily have that of Don Quixote. Is this what you want, Dr. Plinio?" To which I would not hesitate to answer that, as a Catholic, I categorically deny that the human race can be reduced to a bunch of Quixotes and Sanchos, and that only two roads are open to man: that of the disheveled and insane "hero" of La Mancha, and that of his abominable and vulgar squire. Today, amidst so much talk about a "third way," "Third World," and so on, almost no one remembers a different option that avoids both death and, above all, capitulation to the Soviet Moloch.

On a supremely elevated level, it is obvious that beyond Cervantes' alternative lie the sacrosanct paths of Christian her­oism. Yes, of Christian heroism as the Church has always taught it, and to which history owes its wisest, most splendid and most auspicious deeds for the spiritual and temporal good of men.

Today, however, I am not going to dwell on that level, but on another which, albeit much less elevated, deserves our highest attention.

I ask: Do men not have the means to prevent both atomic destruction and the catastrophe of surrendering to communism?

I have in my hand a weighty study on that question which to me seems highly conducive to finding that happy solution. It is "The Grain Weapon," by Mr. Dermot Healy, which he presented as his doctoral thesis at the University of Alberdeen, Scotland (Centrepoint, No. 1, 1982, 50 pp.).

In short, the author holds — and pro­ves — that: a) the Russian leaders were always very sensitive to a grain embargo by the United States, since the country's food production is insufficient for both its population and its livestock; b) an em­bargo would necessarily bring about widespread poverty with all its sequels such as unrest, strikes, agitation, etc.

If such an embargo were to be prolonged, I think that the fall of the regime would be inevitable, and that the spectre of atomic bombardment would fade away. As a result, the dilemma surrender or death would fall apart.

What are the obstacles preventing the implementing of that wholesome policy? Mr. Dermot Healy points out: a) the pressure put on Congress by all major grain producers in the United States that want to increase their sales to Russia; b) the excessive sensitivity of American presidents to this pressure; c) the pressure of major private companies that have a near monopoly on U.S. grain exports. These companies would violate an em­bargo; d) once an American embargo was set up, the Russians would turn to other grain exporting countries, thereby rendering the embargo ineffective.

I would say that the only reason for the failure of such an embargo is the greediness of gargantuan capitalist companies. That is, to increase their profits, and therefore their capital, these companies do not hesitate to supply the means of victory to the inexorable enemy of all forms and degrees of capitalism and profit. Nothing could be more insane or repulsive as far as suicide is concerned.

Along with this deplorable example, Dermot Healy mentions a truly enlightening fact: the only noteworthy opposition to the grain sales came from Amer­ican longshoremen who, for a time, refused to load grain destined for Russia.

These workers showed more good sense and a better notion of their duty and rights than the "toads," that is, the moneyed bourgeoisie, who are by no means hostile to communism but very hostile to anticommunism.

Behold the toads, always indefatigably destroying themselves, indifferent and even hostile to those who, like the longshoremen, try to defend an order of things without which the toads... wouldn't even be toads!


(*) “Folha de S. Paulo”, 16th October 1983