Liberalism won the cultural battle in the new generations

The intellectual Axel Kaiser, president of the Foundation for Progress, has known Javier Milei for years.

El liberalismo gano

Photo: Axel Kaiser

A short time ago, he observed people's reactions to the libertarian economist's speech. "Seeing that, I realized that this was a phenomenon that they were not going to be able to stop," he says.

Are you a friend of Javier Milei?

He says so and I say so. We met in 2016. We had a coffee in Buenos Aires, and he brought a book of mine for me to sign. It was "La fatal ignorancia", which has a theoretical framework that made a lot of sense to him: it is the battle of ideas, which is to occupy spaces with cultural hegemony. That is what he did before becoming a candidate. I am happy to have played a role in the success of Javier Milei and in the ideas of freedom in Argentina.

The President-elect of Argentina has just said that "there is no going back on liberal ideas" in his country, and that he will not adopt gradualism. Will it work?

Gradualism was already tried in Macri's government and it was a complete failure. Argentina is in such a deplorable situation economically and socially, that the only thing that works are drastic measures. It is what is called shock therapy, which is nothing more than cleaning the rottenness of the system.

Milei has an aggressive, categorical, radical discourse, where those responsible are very clear. And also, with the symbol of the lion, something that few people have paid attention to.

Why does this symbol matter?

Because that symbol speaks to the Argentine collective unconscious. The lion represents ferocity, greatness, strength, and above all freedom. In that archetype you have libertarianism: the sheep is governed by others; it does not think for itself. The lion is not guided, like the sheep.

He has no choice but to be very hard with the first measures. And he has to announce them later.

He will be able to announce them, but he does not have majorities.

He will have to negotiate many things, but he will have to hold the caste responsible, as he has been doing.

Does Milei's triumph mean that liberalism won the cultural battle in that country?

Liberalism won the cultural battle in the new generations and forced everyone's political hand. This is a rebellion of young people in Argentina.

Could it happen in Chile?

Absolutely. If it were for previous rebellions of young people, it is what put Boric in the Government, but with the wrong ideas of old socialism. Now we have a disaster of a government. I have worked 15 years to create a different consciousness, which is the same one that Milei basically managed to expand in Argentina: it is that of self-confidence.

This article was originally published in Spanish in the newspaper El Mercurio.

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