Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Social Liberty Party goes libertarian in Brazil

Brazil's Rand Paul: Can Libertarianism Fix Crime and Corruption? | Rising Stars | OZY - Anna Jean Kaiser, Daily Dose:

June 28, 2017 - "Fabio Ostermann ... 32, is a key player in Brazil’s growing libertarian movement, which has risen against a backdrop of the country’s collapsing left. He’s led youth groups on college campuses, co-organized some of the country’s largest-ever protests — which may have helped impeach the country’s leftist president, Dilma Rousseff. Now, he’s the president of the Social Liberty Party in his home state, which he is reforming to defend classical libertarian ideals.

"He ran and lost for mayor of his hometown of Porto Alegre, but now has his eye on a lower house seat in 2018 — and on launching a larger campaign in next year’s presidential and congressional elections to occupy the political vacuum created by the left’s disintegration with a rebranded, youthful, American-influenced libertarianism. Ostermann’s brand of libertarianism calls for widespread privatizations, deregulation of the economy and open trade markets. He’s pro marijuana legalization and favors gay marriage....

"Ostermann was trained by the United States’ most influential libertarian organizations — the Cato Institute, the Atlas Network and the Charles Koch Foundation.... He took a course on libertarian theory with Cato and earned a Koch summer fellowship to work at the Atlas Network. Newly evangelized, Ostermann returned to Brazil in 2009, where he co-founded Estudantes pela Liberdade — the Brazilian chapter of Students for Liberty, another U.S.-based libertarian group....

"From that came the Free Brazil Movement. They started rallying hard to impeach Rousseff. On March 15, 2015, Free Brazil and other organizations mobilized 3 million people to protest in 229 cities across the country — the largest protest since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1985....

"If elected, Ostermann’s first policy order of business would be the mass privatization of Brazil’s $70 billion-plus social safety net. He supports voucher systems for private schools and health care. 'I don’t think the government has the competence or capacity to manage these services in a country as chaotic as Brazil,' he says, though he’s happy to let the government spend on sanitation, security and 'basic infrastructure.' (That doesn’t include soccer stadiums, he adds, in sardonic reference to some $25 billion spent on the World Cup and the Olympics in 2014 and 2016 — though that number is frequently contested in Brazil.)

"When talking marijuana legalization, he situates his pro stance in response to Brazil’s bloody drug landscape, where drug crime causes near-constant violence in urban centers. In 2015, Brazil had more than 56,000 homicides, landing it the world’s highest murder rate in terms of absolute numbers, which in large part is due to drug-related crimes. In turn, Brazil also has the world’s fourth-largest prison population. 'To leave drug traffickers and cartels to have a monopoly over marijuana is a crime against society and an ineffective way to spend taxpayer money,' he says.

"Ostermann defends this latter stance despite the fact that it may have lost him his race last year. It’s his obsession with ideological purity that might keep him and his party from finding success."

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