Today voters in Argentina voted overwhelmingly (about 56% to 44%, a wider margin than expected) for a self-described anarchy-capitalist to be their next president!
While Javier Milei leans socially conservative, he does not appear to be the “right wing” or Trump-like figure that some in the American media have tried to brand him as. I’ve read several articles in the Buenos Aires Times (from Argentina) that seem to be better about not misrepresenting him. This one from tonight reports his victory in today’s polling:
While I still want to learn more, the information I’ve found so far over the past few months of reading a few articles and watching a few videos give me the impression that his reputed opposition to things like abortion, sex education, and LGBTQ rights are mainly personal stances, and that like a good libertarian, he is not trying to prohibit them by law. I have my fingers crossed that this is the case.
It sounds like Milei is going to have an uphill fight to get many of his ideas implemented, and he also “owes” a political debt to the traditional center-right opposition for backing him in the run-off election, which may have made a crucial difference, since he came in 2nd in the first round of the election in October, behind the statist economy minister Sergio Massa, but picked up the support of 3rd place finisher, conservative centrist Patricia Bullrich, along with that of former conservative president Mauricio Macri (in office 2015-2019).
Nevertheless, besides winning the presidency, Milei’s La Libertad Avanza (Liberty Advances) party did pick up 6 (out of 72) seats in the upper house of the Argentine Congress, and 38 (out of 257) seats in the lower house:
While far from a majority, I was still somewhat encouraged by this, as I had read it reported previously that Milei might have very few supporters in the legislature. The Wikipedia page for La Libertad Avanza includes this paragraph, which sounds both sensible and compassionate to me:
"La Libertad Avanza proposes a comprehensive approach to addressing issues related to health, social development, labor, and education by consolidating them into a single Ministry of Human Capital. The party argues that those who rely on state assistance are not to blame for their circumstances, and is the existing political system that is at fault. It advocates for maintaining social assistance until the country can transition to a more prosperous economic model based on freedom. La Libertad Avanza also champions the long-term transition to private systems for healthcare and education.”
I’ve often said that a key difference between libertarians and conservatives is that while conservatives tend to blame the poor for their circumstances, attributing their plight to deficient personal morals, work ethic, and the like, libertarians tend to blame the system. While it’s usually true that any individual can do better, in a highly statist system a large number of people are statistically likely to fall through the cracks. As with Milei, I’ve frequently seen his party labeled as “right wing” or “ultra right”, but fortunately from what I’ve read so far, this does not appear to be accurate.
In any case, what happens in Argentina will definitely be worth watching. Whatever Milei and his allies do, for better or worse, is likely to have huge ramifications for the worldwide libertarian movement. So let’s hope and pray that they stay the course and are able to get their ideas implemented in the face of a dire economic situation and forces that are going to try to block his pro-freedom agenda at every turn.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))