Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Brazilian Crisis Isn't A Coup

At The Monkey Cage, Amy Erica Smith asks whether the crisis in Brazil is a coup. The answer is no.

What happened Sunday is analogous to jurors ruling against a defendant based not on the charges, but because they think she is a bad person. This does not constitute a coup, but it is a misuse of democratic procedures.

Concepts and definitions matter. "Terrorist" gets thrown around a lot, as does "genocide," "communist," and "dictator." What often happens is that we take pejorative terms and apply them to people or situations we don't like. By doing so we devalue valid cases and end up with a poorer understanding of what's actually going on and what likely consequences are. Brazil experienced a coup in 1964. What's happening now bears no resemblance to that.


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