Javier Milei: simple and dangerous ideas

Futurism, the artistic movement of the first decade of the 20th century that was identified with Italian fascism, exalted war and speed.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
20 November 2023 Monday 03:31
3 Reads
Javier Milei: simple and dangerous ideas

Futurism, the artistic movement of the first decade of the 20th century that was identified with Italian fascism, exalted war and speed. It was his way of visualizing his rejection of the past and embracing modernity, technology, revolution. In Javier Milei's message there is no proposal that is revolutionary or disruptive. What sticks out, what fires up his younger voters has been his fascination with destruction. This chainsaw with which he appears at the demonstrations, these blows and exaggerations that he lets go when he has his celebrated television ramps. Today, everyone in Argentina hopes that all that destruction will remain only in gestures and not in the vibrations of a volatile and unstable person.

Javier Milei has won Argentina with a libertarian-inspired program. It may seem like an exotic proposition. But there is nothing mysterious about it. It is a set of simple ideas that translate into an intimate rejection of the State, of everything that is public. In the 1930s, anarchism was something for the poor. They distributed leaflets with the slogan "Neither God, nor Fatherland nor Patrón" and wanted to organize society without any interference from power.

Milei's libertarian ideas are very different. They are a later invention of the more radical fraction of liberalism that the technocracy of Silicon Valley has rehabilitated, an ideology defended by tycoons like Peter Thiel or Elon Musk. It seeks to dispense with the State and put taxes at zero on the scoreboard. This makes it a dangerous dystopia in complex economies and a hell for the societies that have to suffer it. In this policy, any desire to redistribute resources and responsibilities, to restore equal opportunities, disappears.

The conversion of the State to the minimum expression can be a catastrophe for Argentina, as defended by a manifesto distributed last week by a group of international economists. Milei has proposed eliminating the Central Bank and dollarizing the economy (lose monetary sovereignty and surrender to the dollar to curb inflation, a painful and not at all clear formula).

It is, in any case, major surgery for ailments that are chronic. And its application can only cause more suffering among the population.

It is likely that at the time of truth, the winning candidate will not be able to put these ideas into practice. That he lacks a sufficient majority in the chamber and his allies force him to moderate these proposals. Then the damage will be done. His victory will have validated ideas that should have been locked inside a lamp and never come out.

But Milei has been the bet of many young Argentines and also of a significant part of poor Argentines. Many observers indicate that in his victory there is no adherence to his ideas: the liberalization of the sale of weapons, the legalization of the sale of organs, the suppression of the right to abortion or climate denialism, which qualifies as the last invention of the socialists. Nor does it mean that they think that the left, characterized as the enemy, and described indiscriminately as communist, should disappear. Nor, finally, do they share the candidate's understanding of the crimes committed by the military dictatorship, "excesses" according to him, which led to the death or disappearance of 30,000 people.

No. In his vow, what is there is desperation. Boredom of a policy that has impoverished them for years. Tired of a traditional party system shrouded in corruption and which has been unable to resolve a crisis that was unleashed in 2000 (actually due to policies not so far from those of the now winning candidate). Declassification is an uncontrollable force. The anxiety over the loss of status of broad social layers leads society to chaos. It makes the political system incomprehensible. This is where we are now.

In few societies as in Argentina, inequality is experienced in such a bloody way. Second Latin American economy, rich in energy and food, is a cultured and educated society. Paradoxically, in this frenzy over cuts, Milei also wants to cut spending on education, one of the assets of this society (and abolish the Ministry of Education).

It will be difficult to solve the ills of Argentina, an economy that in the last half century has lived on a veritable roller coaster of defaults, chronic fiscal deficits and in which inflation periodically destroys the savings of the poorest. To solve this, the party system needs to be reformed and the Peronism system of client benefits and subsidies dismantled. But it is a complex and slow thing. And ultimately, it must have a favorable international framework. Because, like other South American economies, Argentina is too dependent on the prices of the raw materials from which it derives its wealth. It's not something you can fix with a chainsaw.

Milei's election victory is an extraordinary triumph for the international far-right. Donald Trump was the first to congratulate him. Jair Bolsonaro the second. And shortly after, Elon Musk did it from the social network he owns. The victory of the libertarian means the spread of a corpus of ideas as simple as they are dangerous. Milei likes young people. It conveys a carefree and informal image. And it achieves great success in the Spanish-speaking world. Also in Spain, where his victory is being widely celebrated.