This article takes up the story of right-wing mobilization before and during Brazil’s military government of 1964–1985. Understanding the regime’s violent countersubversion requires analysis of the ideology that framed it. This ideology flourished among a long-neglected group of far-right intellectuals and organizations that had considerable influence in successive military administrations and worked to define subversion—the military state’s ever-invoked enemy—in terms chiefly moral and sexual. Scholars have noted that defense of “Western Christian civilization” peppered the vague rhetoric of Cold War autocrats throughout Latin America. Yet inattention to the Right per se and to those considered extremists has impeded our understanding of the specific values bound up in such visions of the West and hence of the centrality of morality and culture in countersubversive thought. This article argues that rightists, some of them radical, echoed past conservatisms by linking morality, sexuality, and subversion in ways that gained increasing influence in the 1960s and 1970s.

You do not currently have access to this content.