Libertarian Ideology: What It Is and Its Relation to Economics

“I am a libertarian liberal. Philosophically, I am a market anarchist”.

That’s how deputy Javier Mille defined himself in 2021 after he comfortably won Argentina’s primary elections a few weeks ago and became the favorite for the upcoming presidential election on October 22, surprising locals and outsiders alike.

He left this position reflected in his collection of speeches and speeches, ‘The Path of the Libertarian’ (January 2022), where he explained the path that led to the realization and quantification of societal discontent with what he called political caste.

The candidate, a 52-year-old economist with a “rocker” style, has been in the spotlight for years thanks to his controversial and often loud appearances on the South’s most popular TV shows.

With phrases like “I’m here to drive out these criminals,” Miley began to gain support from the youth and middle class.

While his promises to “dynamite” the central bank, end “public works,” cut subsidies, and allow the carry of guns may seem in line with what a libertarian would expect, other controversial announcements cast doubt on the character.

Libertarianism is a philosophical current in politics that places “individual liberty as the supreme political value,” wrote David Boas, former vice president of the CATO Institute, an American foundation.

“A libertarian admits that people can be reasonably forced to do certain things, the most obvious being to avoid violating the freedom of others. A libertarian, however, considers it unacceptable to force others to serve others, even if it is for their own good,” explained Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

This current has its historical roots in the Enlightenment movement, which began in the mid-18th century and lasted until the early years of the 19th century in Europe.

Thinkers such as the Frenchman Montesquieu, the Englishman John Locke or the Scottish Adam Smith began to develop theories and ideas that questioned the ancient and then dominant belief. , due to hereditary or religious reasons.

But as if questioning the role of kings and clergy was not enough, this practice also sought to limit the powers of democratic and representative governments.

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“Libertarians believe that respect for individual liberty is a central requirement of justice. They believe that human relations should be based on mutual consent. Libertarians advocate a free society of cooperation, tolerance, and mutual respect,” said American philosopher Jason Brennan in an essay for Austrian Economics and Libertarian Ideas.

The above makes it clear that the movement is suspicious of the government, considering it invasive and unnecessary. Also, “certain forms of order in society arise naturally, spontaneously, and without central direction,” explains the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

For this reason, libertarians diverged from liberals, who believed that a system (government, laws, etc.) was necessary to resolve conflicts and settle differences between people.

“I regard the state as the enemy; taxes are an obstacle to slavery. Liberalism was created to free the people from the oppression of kings; in this case, it would be the state”, Millay declared, thus Argentina. Align with these basic tenets of libertarianism.

Libertarians are placed on the far right of the political spectrum by promoting free markets, private property, and a small and limited government.

However, other key elements of his ideology have been considered and ended by leftist forces, among them the defense of personal freedom, particularly in relation to sexual issues or drug use; And his peace.

However, sociologist Felipe Benítez warned BBC Mundo that “libertarians do not accept the ancient political division between left and right doctrines.”

And, at the center of everything, they place the freedom of each person.

“Libertarians have attempted to define the proper scope of personal liberty based on the concept of individual right, or self-ownership, which implies that each person is entitled to the exclusive control of his will, actions, and body,” Boas explained.

Miley has made it clear that drug abuse will not be his main concern if he becomes president in Argentina. “Medication is suicidal in installments. If you want to rise, do whatever you want, but don’t ask to foot the bill,” he said.

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Adherents of this current also oppose armed conflict because “war brings death and destruction on a large scale, disrupts family and economic life and places too much power in the hands of the ruling class,” said a former vice president of CATO. Company.

In Benítez’s words, libertarianism is “a line of thought that abhors the use of unnecessary violence.”

Millay showed consistency with this last principle. This was evidenced by his harsh criticism of the Malvinas War in 1982 and his pledge to support negotiations by one of his governments, although he admitted that the task was “difficult”.

“If it is one day [las islas] Become part of Argentina again, it involves a very, very long negotiation and Argentina has to propose something interesting (…)

“You have to sit down with the United Kingdom and discuss this situation with the people living on the islands,” he said in an interview with an organization specializing in economic affairs in 2022.

The main reason to suspect that Miley is a libertarian is his stance on abortion.

“I’m against abortion because I believe in other people’s life plans. A woman can make choices about her body, but what’s in her womb is not her body, it’s another individual,” the presidential candidate declared.

For this reason, political communication expert Carmen Beatriz Fernández considered that Miley does not fit the label of libertarian, but others, such as “neopopulist or right-wing authoritarian”.

“A classic libertarian is someone who has liberal positions in the economic field, but refers to personal and individual freedoms. I would not say that Millay was a classic libertarian, although he was a promoter of the economic ideas of the Austrian school,” the professor at the University of Navarra (Spain) told BBC Mundo.

This view is not shared by political scientist Guillermo del Avellado, who considers Miley to be the “most organized” representative of this political trend.

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“His criticisms on issues such as budgets and specific policies, during his time as a commentator on TV programs and now as a congressman, were directed at the size and function of the state, so he fits the profile of a libertarian”, affirmed the dean of the Faculty of Legal and Political Studies of the Metropolitan University of Caracas.

However, Aveledo acknowledged that the controversial Argentine presidential candidate’s conservative positions and other contradictions prevent him from being considered a “true libertarian.”

And, for this reason, he labels him a “paleolibertarian” or “anarcho-capitalist”; That is, one who believes that society can be organized and function only with the market, without the need for the state.

“A true libertarian defends the abolition of government and the office of the president, but he aspires to that position,” the expert said.

Benítez, for his part, sees the presidential candidate well-grounded in this ideology.

“Javier Mili is an economist who thinks as a libertarian, expresses as a libertarian and there is a lot of libertarianism in his government program,” he told BBC Mundo.

Regarding accusations that Miley was a populist, Benítez asserted that populism can only be defined once it is established under a form of government (“when, not before, its action places it outside the limits of any institutional control”).

“For now, perhaps, his approach can be said to be rhetorical. But in this time of democracy besieged on all sides, who can stop it with any real chance of victory?” He warned.

If they seize the keys to the Casa Rosada in the presidential election next October, they can see whether or not Miley will keep his promises, and then doubts will be put to rest.

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