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Juan Diego Molina Méndez
researcher from Institute for Culture and Society, University of Navarra
Some Latin American countries seem to be in a permanent search for a messiah, a savior who will finally set them on the path to prosperity and peace. Since the time of independence, the experiments have been of the most varied kind, from nationalist leaders, to communists, socialists, liberals... and now in Argentina a figure has emerged who embraces libertarian principles. Javier Milei 's triumph in the Argentine primaries has come as a huge shock in a society that has been defined by the Peronism that the Kirchners and their allies have championed for the last two decades.
Milei's success responds to the exhaustion of Argentine society in the face of the excessive growth of the state expense , the overflowing inflation and the strengthening of organized crime and drug trafficking.
The proposals of the Peronist candidate Sergio Massa and Patricia Bullrich, candidate of Juntos por el Cambio, represent at this moment the continuity of a model of State action that has not been able to improve the living conditions of Argentines.
On the other hand, Javier Milei is running for the party La Libertad Avanza, which defines itself as a libertarian ideology and focuses its proposals on the reduction of the State, the dollarization of Economics and the elimination of the Central Bank as a way to end inflation.
The less State, the better
These policies respond to the classical libertarian statement of core values since, according to Milei, "the State should only protect life, liberty and property and not interfere in people's lives".
The proposal to reduce the state apparatus, according to the presidential candidate , is due to the fact that the idea of social justice, on which the collection of taxes and the submission of subsidies by the State is based, is an aberration because it is theft.
Following this line, in the presentation of his government plan, Milei indicated that he aspires to eliminate all the social attendance in Argentina, that is to say, the public programs of health, Education, work, housing, etc. to leave these areas in the hands of the private initiative that, according to him, would deliver the services in a more efficient way.
Likewise, the work currently carried out by the Ministries of Health, Education and work would fall under a single entity called the Ministry of Human Capital.
All these proposals have attracted 30% of the Argentinean electorate thanks to their radical nature and the apparent answer to the crisis in which this Latin American country is immersed.
The argument that private initiative can better respond to people's needs is nothing new. The difference with Milei's proposal lies in the elimination of regulations that exist even in countries with more open economies. Undoubtedly, the implementation of the Liberty Advances government program in its entirety would represent a shock that could leave the most disadvantaged people without the protection of social justice.
Although libertarian theory indicates that the elimination of the State and regulations would make Argentines freer, it is necessary to ask what subject of freedom is the one advocated by Milei.
His numerous appearances in the Argentine media are good material to understand his basic ideas: "I am philosophically anarchist, but in real life I am a minarchist". This anarchism to which candidate ascribes itself seeks to leave all aspects of life in society to the whim of private initiative, without regulations or entities that watch over the interests of society, because, according to this doctrine, the market will ensure that all needs are covered.
Now, the minarchism that Milei claims to defend in real life is a variation of libertarian principles whereby the State would have a role in guaranteeing security and justice, thus protecting private property, life and liberty.
In a nod to his more conservative voters, the libertarian presidential candidate has also defined himself as pro-life, although it is worth pausing here because at the same time he has also proposed that organ donation become just another market.
In the hands of the market
According to what Milei said in a conversation with journalist Luis Majul, in this way no one would be forced to sell their organs, but it would open the possibility that anyone could sell one of their limbs without anyone being able to oppose, because, according to agreement to the idea of freedom that he manages, no one can oppose what anyone wants to do with his or her body.
Thus, although Milei defines himself as pro-life, it is worth asking what life he is in favor of if the integrity of people is put in the hands of supply and demand.
The purpose of politics is the creation of the necessary conditions in society so that people can live and develop fully, and the idea of freedom that Javier Milei advocates states that this can be achieved through the cancellation of all regulation, leaving the provision of basic services, goods and even life in the hands of the free skill.
But what fulfillment can a person achieve in a system where everything, including his or her integrity, is left to the whim of unregulated markets?