Thursday, February 02, 2006

12 seats for Costa Rican Libertarians?

Costa Rican Libertarians are looking forward to elections this Sunday in which they hope to come third in the Presidential elections with candidate Otto Guevara, and to increase their seats in the 57 seat parliament to 12. As Guevara told Free Market News recently, "he wants to 'force the next government to negotiate with the Libertarian Movement Party its public policies for the next four years' and prepare the terrain for a presidential victory in 2010." Says FMN:
The significance of their efforts goes far beyond Costa Rica and shows three things.

First, it indicates that the classical liberal tradition has some potential for making a connection with the populace, because of its critique of established parties and traditional politicians—a stand very much in vogue in the developing world. The recent tendency has been for the old-fashioned populist left to seduce those vast segments of the population that feel cheated by the establishment--only to prove they represent exactly what they purport to combat.

Second, the Costa Rican experience shows principle is not necessarily a lost cause in politics. Few things have caused classical liberals more harm than muddling the message and obfuscating principle. If defenders of free markets support big spending, legally protected monopolies, crony privatization and courts that make a mockery of the principle of equality before the law, is it surprising that many people tend to associate classical liberalism with mercantilism, that is, the blurring of the line that ought to separate government and business?

Finally, Otto Guevara’s success poses a challenge to those who think politics is not a valid way to go about changing the prevailing culture, and that education needs to come before political action because until people’s minds are educated no political change is possible. The Costa Rican experience seems to contain a more complex truth: everything, including practical politics, can, in the right circumstances, become a catalyst for cultural change.
However, not every libertarian is so excited. A former Moviemento Libertario supporter has watched with disgust and disappointment what he calls "the transformation of the Movimiento Libertario from a Libertarian party to a run of the mill Liberal (in the European sense) party."
I made some predictions, and so far have been correct. I predicted they would accept state funds, they did. I predicted that many hard working people would leave the party, they did.

The most important prediction I made was with regard to the number of seats the party would win in the Asamblea. I said a maximum of seven seats. This prediction will be put to the test on Sunday...
By Monday we will know if selling out paid off.
All sorts of lessons for all sorts of libertarians.

Links: 'A Libertarian Dream Story' - Free Market News
'Costa Rica's Election' -
Sunni and the Conspirators Blog
Moviemento Libertario - Liberty Link

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