Argentina has elected a self-described anarcho-capitalist libertarian Javier Milei as its next president. The result of Sunday’s runoff election will mean sweeping changes to the second-largest economy in South America, which will now be helmed by one of the most bizarre figures in modern politics.
An economist-turned-legislator, Milei’s abrasive political stylings, unruly mop of hair, anti-communist ravings, and taste for conspiracies have earned him comparisons to Donald Trump, and support from right-wing figures within American media and international politics.
While wielding chainsaws as campaign props and sporting “Make Argentina Great Again” hats, Milei, nicknamed “El Loco,” has promised drastic cuts to government spending and social programs in order to curb skyrocketing inflation. As Argentina braces for what promises to be one of its most consequential presidencies in decades, here’s what you need to know about Javier Milei.
He’s an anarcho-capitalist libertarian … most of the time
Basically, Milei wants a much, much, much, smaller government, charged only with the maintenance of justice and state security. In a viral video, Milei was filmed ripping tags with the names of a slew of government agencies off of a whiteboard. The ministries on his chopping block include: Education (“Indoctrination”); Culture; Environment and Sustainable Development; Women, Genders and Diversity; Public Works; Science, Technology and Innovation; Transportation; Health; and Social development.
They are all “out,” as he put it, “Even if [they] resist.”
Argentina's new president Javier Milei has big plans for the government. pic.twitter.com/4uUZNKsXsM
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) November 19, 2023
As a libertarian, Milei supports the legalization of sex work, increased civilian access to guns, and the decriminalization of drugs. He has also stated that he is largely indifferent to same-sex marriage and issues of gender expression. However, his commitment to personal freedoms has been described as inconsistent when compared to his ultra-conservative views on abortion, which he opposes in virtually all circumstances, including instances of rape. Earlier this year, Milei proposed Argentina hold a referendum to overturn the law that established a right to abortion in 2020.
He says he’s a tantric sex guru
Milei’s journey into politics began largely through appearances on various Argentinian TV channels. In one interview, Milei revealed that he was not only a libertarian in an economic sense but also in his personal life.
“Yes, yes, yes,” Milei responded when asked if he supported open relationships and non-monogamy, adding that in his view, relationships should operate under the same principles of competition as the free market. “I don’t like monopolies,” he said.
In another interview, Milei spoke openly about having had threesomes and previously working as a tantric sex coach. At one point Milei revealed that through his tantra practice, he was able to hold off ejaculation for up to three months.
Interestingly enough, Milei considered comprehensive sex education to be a form of socialist indoctrination by the left.
He cloned his dead dog and consults the clones for political advice
Milei considered his now-deceased English Mastiff Conan (named after Conan the Barbarian) his child, so much so that he had him cloned. Milei now owns four of those cloned mastiffs, one named after the original Conan and the others after famous conservative economists. He considers the clones his grandchildren. In his view, cloning is a way to “approach eternity.”
The president-elect dedicated his victory on Sunday to his fur babies, but it’s not the first time Conan and his progeny have been referenced as an integral part of his campaign. Milei revealed earlier this year that he communicates with his four-legged children via a mystic and that each dog serves a distinct advisory role.
Milei has also indicated that through his medium, he has been able to communicate with famous economists like Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand. He’s even claimed to have communicated with God, who convinced him to launch a career in politics.
He supports the sale of human organs, and maybe kids
Free-market-loving Milei has indicated his support for private sale of human organs.
In June of last year, Milei stated that he would legalize the sale of organs, which is currently illegal in Argentina: “If you have your daughter about to die, and you need to pay for a [medical] intervention. If someone wants to buy your kidney and you could sell it to them. The solution is very painful, you are giving up an organ and, if you also add state regulations, it is worse. I’m talking about social cooperation and voluntary exchanges. It’s the decision of individuals.”
“If liberalism is the unrestricted respect for the life of others, based on the principle of non-aggression and in defense of the right to life, freedom and property; and my first property is my body, then why shouldn’t I be able to do what I want with my body?” he said in another interview.
The comments generated controversy as Milei was essentially suggesting that an individual sell a kidney and undergo invasive surgery in order to afford a separate life-saving medical procedure for a loved one. Additionally, the black market trade of organs has frequently been associated with organized crime in many South American countries, and often results in the exploitation of poor individuals.
What Milei was willing to see on the free market once again generated controversy when he suggested that he might be open to the sale of children. In 2022, when asked if he would support the right to sell one’s kids, Milei responded “it depends.”
He clarified that while he personally wouldn’t sell a child, it’s all a matter of context. “It is not what Argentine society is discussing, perhaps 200 years from now,” he added.
Milei later claimed that his comments had been misrepresented, and that he was “obviously not in favor of the sale of children.”
He’s a fan of Trump, and Trump is a fan of him
Following Milei’s victory on Sunday, Trump congratulated him on Truth Social. “Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for President of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you,” the former president wrote. “You will turn your Country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”
It’s true that Milei has embraced his own version of MAGA politics, and even sported his own “Make Argentina Great Again” hats.
A staunch populist who pulled off a dark horse bid for the presidency amidst a wave of public ire at the establishment, the comparisons between Trump and Milei are plain to see, with uniquely bizarre hairstyles to boot. Milei followed one of Trump’s most infamous tactics in his own rise to the presidency: preemptively claiming election interference to guard against a potential loss.
Milei has expressed his desire to improve the relationship between the United States, and with Trump remaining the clear frontrunner in the Republican primaries, a future relationship with Milei could mirror Trump’s past relationship with other right-wing leaders in the Americas like Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro.
He REALLY hates the left
Milei is, at heart, a culture warrior. A soldier in the batalla cultural unfolding in Latin America and South America, Milei, like many of the American right’s most staunch culture warlords, is bitterly antagonistic to leftist politics.
“Leftist sons of whores,” “shit leftists,” and “filthy leftists” are just some of the descriptors Milei uses to describe his political opposition, and much of his rhetoric regarding progressive values is practically a word-for-word translation of the kind of language used by the American right.
A primer on Argentina's new president, Javier Milei: he hates leftists. pic.twitter.com/JyS7MZr9Sl
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) November 19, 2023
Milei accuses “cultural Marxists” of promoting feminism, environmental sustainability, gender ideology, diversity initiatives, and social welfare that (in his opinion) will inevitably turn Argentina into a socialist hellscape. Sound familiar?
“You can’t give leftist pieces of shit even a millimeter because if you give them a millimeter they will use it to destroy you,” he exclaimed in a now-viral interview earlier this year. In his own political platform, Milei has promised to take the metaphorical chainsaw to Argentinian government bodies and organizations who he sees as the most prominent promoters of leftist ideology.
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