Currently, Brazil is not exactly a bastion of freedom. The Economic Freedom of the World Index, put out by the Fraser Institute, ranks Brazil way down at number 103, with high taxes and over-regulation to blame. However, many people are beginning to question the role of government, especially after the riots in June 2013 in Brazil. Protesters upset about the growing government, and poor civil services are beginning to look for alternatives to the majority parties.
Many are finding a glimmer of hope in a new libertarian party that is beginning to emerge. The “Novo” party is about as freedom loving as it gets, said Isabela Christo and Gustavo Torres, members of the new party.
According to Isabela, although there are 30 political parties in Brazil, politics generally revolves around the two major parties, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and the Labour Party, known as PSDB and PT respectively. From a libertarian perspective, both parties look the same.
“Neither parties are very fond of liberty,” said Isabela, “and there’s no big difference between both parties when it comes to the usual libertarian agenda.” Isabela went on to say that both parties advocate for a bigger government in banking, monetary policy, drug wars, and abortion. “Actually, all those subjects are commonly ignored by the major parties in Brazilian politics, since mentioning them usually has no political benefits at all.”
The Novo Party, on the other hand, does offer a fresh alternative.
According to their website, the party advocates for individual freedom over state control. The website lists other principles:
– Individual as sole creator of wealth
– Reduce the role of the state
– Defend personal liberties
– All are equal before the law
When asked if the Novo party is the only libertarian party in Brazil, Isabela said, “This may sound a little harsh, but it’s a definite yes. Novo is the only party which is shaping up to be the Brazilian Libertarian Party.”
Isabela acknowledge that many libertarian-minded individuals do not believe in politics at all. “There is still a big part of the movement that believes that politics is not the way we’re going to achieve a freer society, and think that the new ‘libertarian’ party is inexorably going to be restrained by the political process.”
She admitted that it’s easy to get pessimistic when the battle is uphill. “The next election – which is in 2016 – is going to answer a lot of these questions about the new Brazilian party. I guess, in the aftermath, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Still, many are optimistic to see the philosophy of liberty coming to the political landscape in Brazil, especially since the protests in June 2013. Isabela said, “Those protests happened because of the inefficiency with which the state naturally offers the so called ‘public services’. People demanded better healthcare, better transportation, better education, and so forth. In the middle of those demands for all those ‘rights’ which our constitution guarantees us, a lot of people started questioning if it’s really a matter of bad administration of the party that’s in power now, or could there be something inherent to the state that made it be such a bad deal?”
Thankfully, ideas are spreading in Brazil, as there has been a renewed interested in free-market economics. Works by Ludwig von Mises, Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard are in demand in Brazil — a country searching for new answers to political problems.
The Novo facebook page alone has over 680,000 likes, and the party is growing steadily. Isabela said that the protests in June 2013 started as a leftist movement, but eventually, “created a libertarian awaking among those who were brave enough to abandon a worldview and question the very principles that used to drive their political views.”