05/06/2024 lewrockwell.com  24 min 🇬🇧 #249880

A Hoppean Dissection of Javier Milei

By Oscar Grau

June 5, 2024

Introduction

In his book,  Democracy: The God That Failed, Hans-Hermann Hoppe talks about the neoconservative movement in the U.S. emerging in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the left became increasingly involved with Black Power, affirmative action, pro-Arabism, and the counterculture of those times. In opposition to all this,

many traditional left-wing (frequently former Trotskyite) intellectuals and cold war "liberals," led by Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, broke ranks with their old allies, frequently crossing over from the long-time haven of left-wing politics, the Democratic party, to the Republicans. Since then the neoconservatives... have gained unrivaled influence in American politics, promoting typically a "moderate" welfare state ("democratic capitalism"), "cultural conservatism" and "family values," and an interventionist ("activist") and in particular Zionist ("pro-Israel") foreign policy.

The current president of Argentina, Javier Milei, is a world-wide phenomenon known as a libertarian hero. Even as president, he has said that the State is a criminal organization and that taxation is theft. As a libertarian defends his ideals as just and worthy for all the peoples of the world, one would think that such a man would radically confront the statist status quo not only at the national level, but also at the international one. Certainly, Milei may be better than most presidents we are used to, but he is not as good or libertarian as many people think.

Milei, the Right, and Abortion

Though so-called neocons are not truly concerned about cultural matters, they recognize the need of playing the cultural-conservatism card in order to win power. The majority of Milei's support in Argentina comes from the anti-leftists (which generally include libertarians) and the pro-life conservatives (generally very religious). Milei is not exactly the kind of cultural conservative that one could expect, given his ferocious supporters outside the libertarian sphere. This unmarried man with no kids that finds the social institution of marriage ""ESTOY EN CONTRA DEL MATRIMONIO" - Javier Milei en La Nación + 18/7/2021 " has gained support due to his remarkable anti-left, anti-socialist and anti-statist rhetoric and his stance on abortion in a country infested by statism and tax-funded cultural-leftism. Apart from this, the help of famous intellectuals on the Argentine right as Agustín Laje has favored Milei with an important amount of support to further secure his dominant place on the right. Nevertheless, the problem with the right in general-which frequently holds many libertarian and free market ideas either in Argentina or abroad-is the fact that their main desire is the replacement of any left-progressive elite in charge of the State by another elite that better represents the interests of the right. This is often seen very clearly with the problem of culture wars. We might ask, at what point will all these people finally realize that these obnoxious culture wars will find no ending without ending the State. At any rate, they will always remain a huge problem, unless we manage to get the State out of the picture as much as possible-for instance, getting the State completely out of education.

Unfortunately, much of the current rightists are not truly interested in protection from State power, but rather in putting a maximum of power in the hands of their leaders-for them, it is more about controlling the power than it is about its reduction. According to  Robert Nisbet, it had been a conservative conviction since Auguste Comte that the surest way of weakening the family is for the government to assume the family's historic functions. However, Milei's continuation and expansion of welfare programs assume precisely families' functions and are anything but favorable to cultural conservatism-let alone libertarianism. Apart from this, in regard to abortion, from the traditional conservative's point of view, Nisbet said that "it is fatuous to use the family-as evangelical crusaders regularly do-as the justification for their tireless crusades to ban abortion categorically." The pro-life crusade of Milei involves political centralization rather than decentralization. And although the increased abortion of our times should be seen as an increased moral degeneration, from that it does not follow that we should give the State and political centralization the power to intervene in any private matter. As Hoppe would  say on this:

Rather than regarding intra-family or household matters (including subjects such as abortion, for instance) as no one else's business to be judged and arbitrated within the family by the head of the household or family members, once a judicial monopoly has been established, its agents-the government-also become and will naturally strive to expand their role as judge and arbitrator of last resort in all family matters.

Milei and his Presidency so far

At the national level, Milei's presidency has been a mix of good and bad deeds. Let us look at both.

The good: He cut spending in some subsidies, closed some government agencies, and ceased to finance public construction to a great extent. He deregulated the economy to some degree, and plans to deregulate it much further, including privatizations of so-called public property and more. The removal of various price controls has had some positive results in some markets, but the overall benefits of such measures (as well as the cutback of some subsidies) are still limited in a highly cartelized economy full of regulations imposed by the State. He reduced a few tariffs and lowered taxes on car dealerships. Furthermore, he keeps giving speeches on libertarian ideas and sound economic science in general, and has opposed the cultural left in mostly good and correct terms.

The bad: Instead of repudiating State debt, he went to the IMF and decided to let the long-suffering Argentinians pay for foreigners and foreign investment funds that had been stupid enough to buy debt obligations issued by previous administrations of the Argentine government. Instead of slashing taxes all-around as promised and allowing the economy to recover on its own, he has increased various taxes (like on fuels and foreign currency purchases) and even plans to restore a category of income tax. Instead of abolishing the central bank and allowing a free choice in money as promised, he tries to keep the peso alive-that otherwise would be quickly outcompeted and replaced by the US-dollar (and possibly, later-on, by other still better, more sound currencies)-by means of special short-time bonds, manipulation of interest rates, and artificially fixed exchange rates. Instead of slashing welfare programs, he has expanded the welfare state-including the multiplied pesos for especially pernicious programs for the social fabric of a good society, like transfers to pregnant women and families for each dependent child. Instead of ending the war on drugs, he has intensified this abomination and even mocked critics on this. Instead of balancing the budget by spending less only, he balances it with more taxation rather than with more spending cuts-favoring the accounts of the State over those of the productive people of Argentina. And instead of promoting and allowing secession and radical political centralization, he has strengthened the power of the central government.

Milei's Foreign Policy, War and the Libertarian Perspective

On the other hand, as if his presidency at the national level were not already significantly marked by errors for a supposed libertarian, at the international level, namely, when it comes to foreign policy, Milei is anything but a libertarian. He supports vehemently Washington's imperialist narrative (pro-NATO, pro-Ukraine, and pro-Israel), that is, he is not a consistent anti-globalist nor a non-interventionist in the slightest. In fact, his foreign policy as previously announced and carried out since assuming the presidency are more characteristics of a neocon rather than a libertarian.

Let us start with the Russia-Ukraine war: In February 2022, Deputy Milei made himself very clear. Having MILEI SOBRE LA GUERRA RUSIA - UCRANIA - Javier Milei con Luis Majul 24/2/2022 on TV the "totalitarian vocation of Putin," he came out in favor of the "free world" and against those who are against freedom. He criticized the Argentine government for not taking the opportunity to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and for its "lack of understanding of how the world works," and went on to say, "I don't make deals with murderers, I said no to China, no to North Korea, no to Russia, no to anyone who doesn't respect the free world." Now, from a libertarian standpoint, it is certainly legitimate to call Putin, Kim and Xi evil crooks, gangsters, murderers, etc., but then to go on, as Milei does, to hail people such as Trump, Zelenskyy and Netanyahu as champions of freedom or free-market capitalism, rather than just another bunch of evil crooks, gangsters and murderers, is simply mind-boggling. To say so totally disqualifies him as a libertarian and reveals himself as just another neocon. Indeed, in seriously  considering lending financial and military support to the Zelenskyy regime, as Milei did in April 2024, he is about to join the ranks of such evil creatures himself.

Milei then continued his speech that day on TV with "a moral question" about war: "When what is happening is wrong, you cannot adopt a neutral position because you are an accomplice, that is, if you see... that Tato was hitting Florencia, you have to go out and defend Florencia because you know that's wrong." True, but only if you help Florencia with your own, personal means, and if you are sure that Tato was not simply reacting to a previous aggression by Florencia against him.

Also in February 2022, talking about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Milei posted a 𝕏 message on his Twitter account (now X). It referred to the "Concert of Democratic Nations of the World," threatened by the military advance of "collectivist authoritarianism," and continued,

Those of us who unhesitatingly defend a model of Open and Free Society must join forces in favor of an effective strategy to confront the enemies of Freedom... There is no margin for the Leaders of the Free World to stop in sterile and paralyzing debates...

However, the  libertarian perspective on any conflict of this nature is quite different: The typical rejection of the libertarian non-interventionist view by Milei-and many people on the right-is due to a poor understanding of libertarianism. How so? In short, because of the simple fact of disregarding the very nature of the State-that of a criminal gang, a protection racket which taxes or otherwise rips off productive people to its own advantage and that of its members, friends, and supporters. This fundamental insight clears up any confusion regarding not only the State itself, but in particular also regarding wars between States-revealing such as wars between rival gangs.

These wars typically involve territorial issues and are always conducted by gang leaders at the expense of other people (money, resources and manpower). Whether offensive or defensive, the costs of war are socialized, and the prospective gains are privatized-making wars more likely, lengthy, and aggressive. In the case of Milei's worries about Putin, the Zelenskyy gang had continually provoked the Putin gang, and its provocations were encouraged and supported by the US-gang-assisted by its NATO-vassals in Europe-that views the Putin gang as the enemy and one of only two remaining blocks on the way toward global hegemony and world domination.

Based only on their own relative powers and resources, the Putin gang would have defeated the Zelenskyy gang long ago. But the war is still dragging on, wasting thousands of lives, and provoking destruction and millions of refugees because of the financial, logistic and military aid given to the Zelenskyy gang by the US-gang and its subordinate gangs in Europe. Generally speaking, the latter does the funding, and the former does the fighting in a joint war against the Putin gang.

Faced with wars between States, libertarians should stay neutral. Outside the war zone, neutrality means giving no material support to either one of the warring gangs. Libertarians should not aid any gangs, and should strictly oppose that their own national ruling gang use taxes and public goods to prop up other gangs or help the accommodation of refugees from wars. In fact, the more this opposition turns into a barrier to the ruling gangs at war, the more positive it will be as a contribution toward the ultimate goal of peace. However, favoring the contrary reduces the costs of war in favor of the warring gangs. That way, the Zelenskyy gang has externalized most of the costs of war, and the war has been accordingly lengthened-thus promoting more suffering, death and destruction.

Of course, libertarians may engage in private, humanitarian and charitable efforts in support of war refugees. At their own risk, and with their own means, libertarians are allowed to help people escape or confront war to evade or minimize aggression vis-à-vis confiscation, depredation, and destruction in the ongoing war, irrespective of the "defensive" or "offensive" nature of both sides. Though a more difficult thing to do, given that your life and property is actually threatened from both warring gangs, even libertarians who reside within the war zone should stay, or try to stay, neutral-as far and as long as the circumstances allow. They may be conscripted or killed, their property may be confiscated or destroyed, their bank accounts may be frozen or used-virtually everything can happen in the name of war. But the protection of one's own life, property and well-being, and that of one's family and friends, is something different from the interest of the gangs-leadership in the protection or liberation of their national turf. Both interests may be contrary and bound to clash. As a matter of fact, as Hoppe would say, the collective security of national defense is actually incompatible with and indeed contrary to private security and private defense.

Faced with the problem of collective security, libertarians should try to stay equidistant from both parties (to avoid provoking either side). They should listen and always be open to talks with both sides. And, insofar as possible, they should promote the decentralization of decision-making to delimit war and reduce its costs. Libertarians should advocate to make all decisions regarding war an increasingly local and ultimately private matter. If none of this happens, if there is no decentralization in the command structure and accordingly no regional or local peace initiatives, then, no progressing, piecemeal delimitation of the actual war can be actively promoted.

Yet then, Milei actually deviates from a methodological individualism to a methodological holism or collectivism. There is no such thing as Ukraine or Russia but only gangs, protection rackets, running these countries, and people residing in territories run by these gangs. So to ask for the gangs running them to send money or material to the war zone is not libertarian, because these gangs are not the legitimate owners of whatever they send-and it would be even worse if any such help went directly to the gang running the country rather than the people in it.

A gang running and controlling some territory is something entirely different from the people residing in the territory. Libertarians cannot possibly support handing their national gang leaders even more power than they already have. But this is precisely what Milei contributes to, while expressing his views and spreading war propaganda. In consequence, the gangs become more aggressive and oppressive. Then, to prevent war propaganda from becoming more widespread, accepted and promoted by the public, libertarians should counter it with the actual truth. Libertarians should let it be known to the world that the warring gangs are by no means good and noble, and do not deserve any support. Also, libertarians should do the same about the fact that the greatest harm is always done to the civil population subjected to the rule of the warring gangs.

But Milei will never tell the world that the US-gang does not care for Ukrainians or the battle against evil, but rather, it is pursuing its own goal of global hegemony and the supremacy of the US-dollar as global reserve currency. The war in Ukraine, then, is more a war between the US-gang and the Putin gang. That is, the people and its ruling gang in Ukraine are only filling an instrumental role. But as the Putin gang is also an atomic power, it is only sensible to defeat it by driving it into economic ruin. The war and the various economic sanctions directed against Russia were for weakening the Putin gang, but were also harmful to the civil population. And if this war, or any war, requires mass-murdering and mass-destruction, so be it. For the US-gang, the goal justifies the means.

For libertarians, simplistic and collectivistic views as those of Milei should be completely ruled out, because they apply the fundamental distinction between the people and the State everywhere. On top of this, Milei's positions do no good whatsoever to counter the immediate effects of war that render all business more risky, depress the overall level of production, hinder trade, and make investments virtually impossible. That is, free markets require peace. Therefore, the imperative desire for libertarians is that any war must be ended, and if possible, that no war must be started. A widespread call for peace should always be the general attitude of libertarians.

As public opinion can have profound effects, libertarians should align themselves to voices calling for immediate peace-talks and advocating regional secession as a way to bring about peace. Only collectivists oppose secession. There may be regions whose inhabitants do not care whether they are ruled by one or another gang, people who would even prefer the foreign gang and be willing to peacefully surrender. Why not? What is usually known as treason is only a crime for apologists of State power. Indeed, given the current status of most governments throughout the world, libertarians would find it difficult to imagine how matters could possibly get worse. Some invasions may even bring improvements for some people. Faced by superior force and concerned with the protection of everything dear to them, it may well be wiser for libertarians to peacefully surrender to an invader rather than fight in a collective war against a foreign gang. That way, lives and property which otherwise might have been destroyed may be saved and protected.

Be that as it may, as to the new Argentine foreign policy, in less than six months, Milei's Argentina has  acquired twenty-four F-16 jets for its air force,  announced a joint naval base with the U.S.,  requested to join NATO as a global partner, and  hosted naval drills with the US fleet.

Milei's Zionism, and the Libertarian Perspective

The cornerstone of libertarianism is the idea, recognition and defense of private property rights. Whether in land or anything else, such (exclusive) rights are justly assigned to certain people based on the ground of original appropriation or of voluntary property transfer. To the contrary: all claims to property not based on these principles are unjust. As for the State of Israel, established in 1948 by mostly European Jews of Zionist persuasion, these requirements of justice are demonstrably not met. Only about 7 percent of present Israel could be said to have been justly acquired by Jews before 1948, and thus be claimed as legitimate property. From then till now, the establishment and the continued expansion of Israel is overwhelmingly the result of expropriation, intimidation, terrorism, war, and conquest against the then-present, mostly Arab residents of the region of Palestine and the now-remaining Arab residents of the regions of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. And as Hoppe has  said:

The claim of present-day Jews to a homeland in Palestine, then, can only be made if you abandon the methodological individualism underlying and characteristic of all libertarian thought: the notion of individual personhood, of private property, private product and accomplishment, private crime and private guilt. Instead, you must adopt some form of collectivism that allows for such notions as group or tribal property and property rights, collective responsibility and collective guilt.

Milei's views on Israel and the ongoing conflict, then, are Zionist: He demonstrated his commitment to Israel at least as early as June 2022 when he 𝕏 promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem if he won. During his visit to Israel as president, Netanyahu Netanyahu agradece a Milei su "firme apoyo" a Israel Milei "a great friend of the Jewish State" and was delighted with his decision about Jerusalem. Netanyahu said they both "champion" free markets, but he must have forgotten that Israel does not allow private land-ownership (all land is in public trust), and the Israeli government interferes with all trade with and within in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (often referred to as the biggest open-air concentration camp of the world). While the "anti-communist" Milei should be denouncing Israel for actually  emulating the Communist manifesto regarding the prohibition of private land-ownership and criticizing the building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, that have transformed the West Bank into non-contiguous open-air prisons controlled by Israel as well, he has actually lent unrestricted support to a State that has oppressed Palestinians in almost every way imaginable for decades.

When, in October 2023, members of the Hamas, running the Gaza Strip, attacked, killed and kidnapped several hundreds of Israeli soldiers and civilians-although a portion of victims were the result of "friendly fire" by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)-then, any libertarian worth his salt, would certainly have immediately condemned such atrocities, but he would have also immediately recognized and acknowledged that the Hamas attack was no more unprovoked than the Russian attack on Ukraine. They were both definitely provoked by the conduct of the Ukrainian and the Israeli political leadership. And in both cases, their provocations were encouraged, backed up and supported by the predominantly Jewish neocon gang-leadership in the United States. Even more importantly, every libertarian committed to the non-aggression principle as a cornerstone of libertarianism would have also condemned in no uncertain terms the reaction of Israel to the Hamas attack, then, as a wildly disproportionate response and an atrocity unrivaled in its magnitude and cruelty by anything else in recent history.

For libertarians, both Hamas and the State of Israel are criminal gangs. The first is a small and low-budget gang, with mostly low-grade weapons; the second is a big and high-budget gang, heavily subsidized by the U.S., with a large army and the most sophisticated and destructive weapons available (including atomic bombs). Hamas is a group formed in reaction to the decades of Zionist take-over and occupation of Palestine. Before this background, libertarians would want to wish the worst on the leaders of both gangs and on all gang-leaders of foreign States lending support to any of the warring gangs. Moreover, as in the Russia-Ukraine war, libertarians should raise their voices in favor of peace and negotiations. The gang-leaders should be accused of their crimes and be pressured through public opinion to agree to an immediate truce-and any escalation of the armed conflict should be avoided.

As indicated, however, this was not what happened. Israel, assisted in this by the U.S. and a continuing flood of US funds, weapons and ammunition, retaliated with everything it got. The entire Gaza Strip was turned to rubble and tens of thousands of innocent civilian Palestinians were killed by bombing sprees, artillery and invading tanks under the pretense of defending Israel from a terrorist group-including thousands of children, who are non-combatants by definition. And all this is still going on, to this very day, destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

And what about Milei's reaction to all this, then? In March 2024, Milei ¡ADELANTO! MILEI LE CONTESTÓ A ESTELA DE CARLOTTO (NOTA COMPLETA EL DOMINGO 31/03 A LAS 10PM) all of this as "Israel's right to legitimate self-defense," and said that the attack of Hamas requires "exemplary responses," stating also that Israel "is not committing any single excess despite the excesses committed by Hamas terrorists." In April 2024, after the Iranian response to Israeli foreign policy, Milei again 𝕏 expressed his "unwavering solidarity and commitment to the State of Israel in the face of the attacks initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran." The Argentine government supports the State of Israel "in the defense of its sovereignty, especially against regimes that promote terror and seek the destruction of Western civilization." Argentina has adopted a new foreign policy based "on the defense of Western values and a common vision of the world in defense of life, liberty and private property." For the new administration, Israel "is a bulwark of Western values in the Middle East and the Argentine Republic will always be on its side against those who seek its extermination." Later on, when Entrevista exclusiva con Javier Milei: habla de las relaciones con EEUU y su apoyo a Israel in May 2024 about the protests at American universities in favor of Palestine, Milei doubled down saying that he stands on "the right side of history" (of the U.S., Israel, and the West), and that they will use "all resources" to defend themselves against terrorists.

Even after all this time, Milei has proved himself incapable of acknowledging the genocidal impulses of several leaders in the State of Israel. Scandalously, while he regards the killing of the unborn as an 𝕏 aberration, the mass killings of fully formed children seems to be of no concern to him-not surprisingly, famous neocon Zionist pundit Ben Shapiro Argentina's New President Is Just Spectacular him.

Milei and the Libertarian Narrative

Following  Hoppe, history can only be correctly told if it is written essentially as "the history of the victories and defeats of the rulers in their attempt to maximize exploitatively appropriated income and of the ruled in their attempts to resist and reverse this tendency." To explain further, "history must be told in terms of freedom and exploitation, parasitism and economic impoverishment, private property and its destruction." Yet Milei even - YouTube war criminals and exploitative rulers such as Ronald Reagan, and his foreign policy and deregulation in Argentina resemble an example of internal deregulation and increased external aggressiveness as the one provided by Reagan himself. In whose time, the neoconservative movement was fused and amalgamated with the conventional conservative movement. Reagan's passion for crusades, moral and military, was scarcely American-conservative, but was nonetheless the result of a long-desired goal of justifying the warmongering impulses of American imperialism in order to serve-of course-special interests. Since then, the leading figures of the conservative movement are used to be just as neocons as anyone.

In any event, Reagan is celebrated by the neocons, as they take advantage of his anti-communist and anti-socialist rhetoric to support the hegemony of American imperialism. Milei is playing the same song, instead of promoting the  libertarian narrative of historical revisionism that implies recognizing the  words of Hoppe's great teacher, Murray Rothbard, on the role of particular States in the international scene: The fact that "the major guilt for war and imperialism in the twentieth century belongs to the United States and to Great Britain", and that the greatest deception of these two States is their allegedly defensive and pacifistic foreign policy. Yet faulty historical narratives are protected by the neocons as established truths about World War I and World War II, about FDR and Churchill (whom Milei "profoundly" admires), and so on. And libertarians already have the tools to find narratives that are either false, or mixed in with hefty doses of fiction.

Milei and the Proper Fight Against the Left and Statism

Should libertarians ally with the neocons to oppose the left? First and foremost, in contrast to the decidedly non-interventionist Old Right, the neocons-mainly its leaders but also its public following-are statist, nationalist, pro-war, pro-militaristic, and imperialist people. Based on this alone, any general alliance with them is simply impossible and contrary to libertarian goals and principles. Hence, libertarians should ally with other non-libertarians only insofar as specific goals toward liberty are concerned. Though not necessarily counterproductive in the short run, general alliances with seemingly libertarian-minded sympathizers usually turn out more beneficial for the statists of such alliances than for the libertarians themselves. Hence, libertarian priorities should generally lie with local and decentralist rather than national and centralist solutions and proposals.

Instead of seeing liberal democracy worthy of appreciation as President Milei does, libertarians should see democracy only as a  mean for defensive and libertarian purposes-they should promote anti-democratic candidates and ideas and help to generate anti-democratic constituents to push and implement policies toward the recognition and protection of private property rights. Along with this, libertarians should seek secession and radical political decentralization, not only to reduce the centralization and oppose the strengthening of State power, but also to make political accountability as workable as possible for restraining institutionalized aggression and economic waste.

Conclusions

To this day, Milei has displayed some complete and unquestioning subservience to the imperialist interests and ambitions of the US neoconservatives and their Zionist buddies in Israel, and an equally complete and unquestioning unwillingness to understand and comprehend those forces around the world unwilling to bow down and obey their Western masters.

Milei's words and actions have made it imperative for real libertarians to take notice of the association of his name with libertarianism and the libertarian movement. As he deviates and falls into multiple and serious errors, including the most absurd propagandistic efforts for especially murderous ruling gangs as the one from Israel, libertarians should publicly distance themselves from him in order to preserve their reputation and that of the entire libertarian intellectual edifice.

Milei's deviations are, in fact, renunciations of the fundamental principles of the only consistent libertarian doctrine systematized in the Rothbardian tradition. For instance, his unrestricted support for Israel is essentially the rejection and renunciation of the very cornerstones of the Rothbardian system, such as the non-aggression principle that Milei himself has pronounced constantly. Therefore, to believe that Hoppe (or his great teacher Rothbard) would still, after and contrary to all initial hopes and good wishes, happily endorse Milei's "libertarianism" is simply ridiculous and ignorant. Indeed, to keep calling Milei a libertarian should be considered mistaken, for it means to pass off a neocon as libertarian. 1

1 I want to thank Hans-Hermann Hoppe for his generous help provided in writing this article.

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