…universality, or the idea of it, masks class antagonisms and this became evident after the 1848 revolutions.
Brazilian liberal pamphlet from the time of Machado: modernity and science are modern, but in Brazil slavery dominates (so Brazil opposes science). Etc. Various people in 19C point out that Brazil does NOT incarnate liberal European values. Europe APPEARS to do so (although it masks the exploitation of labor); Brazil does not.
Liberal ideas and slavery coexist, and liberal ideas are more capitalistic in some aspects (e.g., you can have a “flexible” labor force).
The FAVOR (that free men needed to function) is also an anti-liberal institution. But it could be justified, covered over with liberal ideas, presented as their result. This false pairing has many consequences for literature and life. It creates labyrinths of reality/appearance that Machado is adept at analyzing (cf. Quincas Borba).
The Russian comparison. Does the US have “ideas out of place”? I need to study more. In any case coloniality and modernity must go together, like racism and modernity — one does not cure these ills with modernity, they came with it; at the same time, though, liberal ideas do NOT go with slavery [or would Shwarz now say this contradiction is part of coloniality-modernity?]. I must think about these things; the general idea is that these novels are as odd as they are because they are working with this material.
Update, too: what about the Sanjinés article on Canudos? Do modernity and coloniality go together? What about the excess, the residue (the people of Canudos)?