At a curious moment and from an unexpected place, a singular new world figure has suddenly appeared – Argentina’s President Javier Milei.
Our first notice of him was limited to his seemingly bizarre antics and odd appearance in his nation’s recent presidential election, which he surprisingly won.
His entertainment celebrity background overshadowed his intellectual and philosophical sophistication, as he apparently intended, and it took his recent speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to reveal what an extraordinary figure he is.
Davos is one of the least likely places where Milei might be expected to appear. It is the site of an annual conference of global elite businesspersons and politicians that has a reputation for its attendees being rich, powerful, smug, and out of touch with the real world. Orthodoxies of globalism, climate control, and wokeism dominate the discussions of its exclusive invited participants, who have seemingly embraced more and more leftist ideologies.
Occasionally, contrarian figures have been invited to attend and to speak, including Donald Trump when he was president. But their messages, while they have resonated with everyday people, have largely been glossed over and washed away by the global “deep state” atmosphere of the event.
This was not the case with Milei, however. Just inaugurated and making his first visit outside his country as president, he took the stage at Davos and proceeded to deliver a remarkable address that he intended not only for the elite business executives, politicians, and journalists in that audience, but for a global audience as well.
He opened this speech by saying:
“Today I am here to tell you that the Western world is in danger… because those who are supposed to defend the values of the West have been co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism, and therefore to poverty.”
President Milei then explained in an eloquent, concise, lucid, concrete, and data-supported yet also inspiring manner the declining state of individual liberty and free market economies and warned of the alarming rise of collectivism.
Using Argentina as an example, he cited his nation’s rapid rise as a free and prosperous society in the last half of the 19th century, as it liberated itself from colonial rule, taking part in the blossoming of the Industrial Revolution. By the early 1900s, Argentina had become the seventh largest economy in the world.
Then came a series of military and collectivist revolutions that ultimately brought totalitarian Peronism to Argentina. Despite its large, educated population and its great natural resources, the country became one of the poorest and most repressive nations in the world.
Milei pointed out that every socialist or collectivist state eventually fails, whether it calls itself communist, socialist, social welfare, or fascist. He said that not only cruel dictators use this ideology, but also many well-meaning leaders who want to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the masses of society, but mistakenly assume that the natural incentives of free enterprise and free markets should be replaced by imposed and unnatural hyper-egalitarian policies which result in stagnation and even more suffering.
In exposing and tearing down the lies of the Davos regime, Milei evokes memories of another liberator from two centuries ago – Venezuelan freedom fighter Simon Bolivar.
From the 15th through the 18th centuries, South America was colonized by imperial Spanish and Portuguese regimes which explored the New World. They conquered the native population and imposed a cruel and exploitive rule.
But in the early 1800s, Bolivar emerged to liberate the Spanish colonies of the northern part of the continent, becoming known as the George Washington of South America.
Unfortunately, the independent countries he liberated later became repressive regimes ruled by a series of militarists and oligarchs. The same happened in Portuguese-ruled Brazil, South America’s largest nation, and in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile, which in addition to their Spanish conquerors had been settled by many other Europeans.
Perhaps the saddest of these societies was Argentina. With a large arable land mass, diverse and educated population, and major natural resources of food and minerals, it had initially prospered. Its major city, Buenos Aires, was known as the Paris of South America with its fine architecture, elegant avenues, and rich cultural life.
But this cultural treasure was overrun by collectivist and military regimes after World War I and subsequently by fascist Peronism. The buildings and avenues remained, but the healthy prosperity vanished, and its culture was forced underground.
Peronism was temporarily overthrown in the 20th century, but unfortunately it returned – until now, when Javier Milei has appeared to shatter the Peronists’ grip on power with libertarian messages of individual liberty, free markets, and entrepreneurism.
Is he a new Simon Bolivar?
His challenges are formidable, including persistent price inflation, economic collectivism, labor union excesses, and a long-suffering repressed society.
But, as he pointed out at Davos, his message is not just for Argentina. Throughout the world, anti-democratic, collectivist, and hyper-egalitarian voices and movements have been rising, including in the United States.
At the end of his remarks, President Milei said:
“Do not surrender to the advance of the state. The state is not the solution. The state is the problem itself. You are the protagonists of this story, and rest assured that as from today Argentina is your staunch and unconditional ally. Long live freedom!”
And so should say all of us.