Libertarian Economist Javier Milei Becomes Leader of a Major Nation in Rothbardian Political Shift

Fans of political philosopher Murray Rothbard can find some happiness in knowing that it took the same amount of time for the ideas of his followers to take over a major nation as it did for his ideological adversary, Karl Marx. It took 50 years for Russia to fall to Communism after the publication of Das Kapital in 1867. Now, 50 years after Rothbard’s 1973 manifesto For a New Liberty was published, a self-proclaimed fan of Rothbard, Javier Milei, has won the presidency in Argentina in an election. Rothbard would have been happy to see that Milei’s rise to power took place without violence, unlike the Communist revolution in Russia.

It’s too early to know what Milei’s administration will achieve, but it’s interesting to reflect on Rothbard’s strategic thinking regarding the hopes for a libertarian revolution. One major lesson from Rothbard is that the state should be delegitimized. Milei’s public condemnation of the state in Argentina would have pleased Rothbard, who believed in the demystification and delegitimization of the state.

Another lesson in Rothbard’s thinking is that politics needs to be supported by mass education in libertarian principles. While there is some skepticism about Milei’s victory as a referendum for anarcho-capitalist principles, the crisis situation in Argentina likely contributed to his win.

Lastly, Rothbard believed in the future of a libertarian revolution, regardless of specific historical circumstances. American libertarians should be optimistic about the future of liberty, regardless of any specific political achievements. It’s important not to place too much emphasis on the outcome of Milei’s administration, but rather to work towards long-term goals of liberty.

These lessons from Rothbard’s thinking can help American libertarians in understanding and reflecting on the Milei phenomenon, and what it means for the future of libertarianism, regardless of the outcome in Argentina.