04/17/2017

The Brazilian Liberty Movement Is A Model For The World

Jeffrey Tucker, Foundation for Economic Education

Two years ago in Brazil, when I first addressed the Forum da Liberdad in Porto Alegre, the conference was already huge (3,500 people, as I recall) but spirits were low. The political system seemed hopelessly mired in corruption. Liberty-minded people did not see themselves as making progress. The country seemed stuck in an impoverishing socialism forever, an entrenched despotism as far as the eye could see, and people were asking: is there nothing we can do?

What a difference two years have made! Corruption hit the papers. Everything opened up, and suddenly. Street protests broke out. A president was impeached. New political leaders have emerged. The press is paying careful attention to the huge and diverse movement for liberty in that country.

Everyone today is energized, optimistic, and dedicated at every level. It’s not just about politics. It’s among professors, students, bloggers and YouTubers, and local organizations of every sort. Everyone is jumping in, ready to contribute.

Opportunity is in the air, and the realization feeds on itself. You create the future that you believe is possible.

What a Change

And sure enough, the liberty movement seems poised to make a gigantic difference. The same conference this year drew 5,500 people, making it by far the largest liberty-oriented event in the world. Speakers included business people, statesmen, media figures, intellectuals, publishers, and huge numbers sat with rapt attention as they spoke about the great liberal tradition of peace, enterprise, freedom, and the adaptability of history in light of new ideas.

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For [early immigrants] America was truly the land of opportunity. For the first time in their lives, many were truly free to pursue their own objectives. That freedom released the human energies which created the United States. There were few government programs to turn to and nobody expected them. But also there were few rules and regulations. There were no licenses, no permits, no red tape to restrict them. They found, in fact, a free market, and most of them thrived on it. 

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