Hoppe’s Localist, Decentralist Strategy Is Working in Brazil
The last four years of political activism in the libertarian movement in Brazil confirm Hoppe’s thesis in his “What Must Be Done” and may serve as a lesson to libertarians worldwide. As we gear up for the US elections, and for local elections in Brazil, it is important to make those lessons explicit, to better understand how to use elections and how effectively they can be used to protect private property—what Hoppe calls the defensive use of democracy.
The first lesson is about principles: in selecting candidates to support, it needs to be considered a must that a candidate defend freedom, private property, and the right to associate and not associate as core values, and not as good general economic proposals.
President Bolsonaro has illustrated this point on numerous occasions. Yes, he had some free market proposals and took some stands that pleased libertarians, such as defending the right to freely buy and bear arms. His core values, however, do not include liberty. He just believes that people should have more liberties than they have today; that is his vision for country and nation. When liberty came in conflict with his core views and personal history, he tossed it aside.
On many occasions he interfered with reforms to avoid spending cuts on the military and on security forces in general. Such actions maintained large amounts of state spending and seriously crippled hope for deep reforms in Brazil. He is also adamantly opposed to ending the drug war and has put his and his family’s political future front and center.
Bolsonaro’s presidency also illustrates the importance of Hoppe’s insistence on a bottom-up revolution and a strategic focus on the legislative branch, as opposed to aiming resources at high executive offices such as the presidency or governors. Yes, it would be nice to have them, but it is insufficient and very cost ineffective.
On the occasions when Bolsonaro did march toward reforms that would reduce the state and protect private property, he faced strong opposition in the legislative branch. In part this is due to his total inability to win political battles, but it is also because congressmen in Brazil remain very statist. Long story short, only a handful among 513 congressmen and 81 senators defended liberty and pitched it to other people. Most of Bolsonaro’s base were career public employees or people who simply climbed on his name while having no comprehension of liberty beyond some slogans.
This is not to say that his presidency
Article from Mises Wire