Teen libertarian is face of Brazil's young free-market right … The March 15 demonstration was the largest Sao Paulo had seen in more than three decades, since 1984 protests demanding democratic elections after a long dictatorship. But more surprising than the crowd of over 200,000, according to the Datafolha polling and statistics agency, was the fact it was being led by Kataguiri, a skinny, 19-year-old college dropout, and other young Brazilian activists inspired by libertarianism and conservative free-market ideals. – Associated Press
Dominant Social Theme: The loony right is emerging but the center will hold!
Free-Market Analysis: A big mainstream media meme is that when economic conditions worsen, people respond by seeking out Hitler-esque leaders who will express the frustration of the "people" via genocide, incipient warfare and the creation of a police state.
Regardless of whether this has been true in the past, we have long predicted that the Internet would change the way that people responded to economic hardships in the 21st century. We predicted that third parties might be more thoughtful and free-market oriented than in the past.
We also predicted that people themselves – supporters of alternative political parties – might not be apt to support reactionary forces but would want to participate in political movements that promised less government rather than more.
UKIP as well as some other European parties and protest movements have indeed seemed to us to adopt – to a degree – the vocabulary of laissez faire. Protest movements in Germany of late have targeted central banking.
Occupy Wall Street with its affinity for guillotines and French Revolution style rhetoric has gone out of style so thoroughly in the US that its backers have had to content themselves with building it overseas as best they can.
South America has unfortunately remained relatively immune to this trend because of the powerful footprint of US intel. The entire subcontinent has been shaped by the US's overwhelming desire to manage its southern "territories" via dirigisme.
Small groups constituting mostly a handful of elite families control the resources and industries of country after country. The middle classes such as they are struggle to survive an onslaught of regulations, taxes and endless, official corruption.
Most cleverly, US elites managed to infect South America during the past century and a half with the bacillus of socialism. Middle classes and the intelligentsia, impoverished or privileged, spent decades mouthing the inane platitudes of the Left – suggesting that the problems of elite authoritarianism could be solved if only the government belonged to the "people."
Even now this is the dominant sociopolitical strain populating the governments of many countries: Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, etc.
And yet … as we suspected would happen, things are beginning to change. What must be the worst nightmare of some in the US's intel and military-industrial complex is starting to take hold.
Thanks in large part to the Internet (in our view) an increasingly large group of individuals, many of them youngsters, have discovered that the antidote to authoritarian rule by a handful of elites is not more government but less.
These youngsters, passing around the electronic works of Rothbard, Mises and others, are rediscovering the traditions of freedom and free-market philosophies that so influenced the US's founding fathers including the primary genius of freedom himself, Thomas Jefferson.
This AP article – and yes it is surprising to see this nascent movement reported by AP – provides us with information about this growing trend.
The grandson of Japanese immigrants, Kataguiri is a social media star whose quirky videos skewer Rousseff and the ruling party's social welfare policies. His ascent as a protest figure has been rapid. Two years ago, when protests erupted across Brazil over corruption and poor public services, Kataguiri was a high schooler who avoided the unrest.
Today, he is the public face of the Free Brazil Movement, a growing force that is more focused than the 2013 unrest that expressed a wide range of middle-class anger. Brazil's new wave of protests are seen as a right-leaning movement clearly channeled against Rousseff and her Workers' Party.
A widening kickback scandal at Petrobras, the state oil company, is one of several complaints undermining the administration. Kataguiri and others are striking a chord with Brazilians fed up with soaring inflation, a high and growing tax burden, and those who blame government intervention for hobbling Brazil's economy, which grew just 0.1 percent last year and is expected to shrink in 2015.
"We are starting to see an agenda that is very politically driven and clearly against the federal government and President Dilma," said Carlos Melo, a political scientist at the Sao Paulo-based Insper business school. Compared to 2013, "these protests are presenting very different visions."
Kataguiri and his movement have been accused of taking funds from the conservative-libertarian Koch brothers, but he and his colleagues deny it. No doubt there will be more antipathy and smears directed toward Kataguiri as his movement grows.
But surely it will grow because other alternatives have been tried and found wanting. Meanwhile, the Internet itself has provided a conduit for new ideas emphasizing freedom and human action that are finding fertile soil in the minds of millions.
We have long pointed out that the Internet is a process not an episode. The ramifications of 21st century information technology have yet to be fully felt.
While many increasingly see its impact as primarily destructive because it seems to lend itself to reducing freedom and privacy rights, our perspective remains the same: What has occurred is changing the hearts and minds of many. The more pushback that occurs, the more people are driven to seek out the very information that has been previously withheld from them.
This spiritual, emotional and intellectual revolution – more than any since the advent of the Gutenberg press – is taking place within the individual. This is the most dangerous kind of social revolution.
Now it is happening in Brazil. Stay tuned.
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