EspañolThose of us who love the world of ideas and enjoy spending an afternoon debating philosophy tend to naively believe that once people grasp a basic concept, the implications will come easily to them. However, after establishing a basic premise, a waterfall of questions inevitably ensues.
Consider the following example: “The human body’s temperature ranges between 36 and 37 degrees Celsius.”
But what about Roger Federer? He’s Swiss. What about people who live in tropical climates, or those “warm-natured” philosophy professors? Does Pope Francis count?
It’s enough to make one question something we all know to be true. Is Francis really human? Are the Swiss colder than the rest of us? It can become quite frustrating. Can’t we please just grasp the basic premise and move on?
Apparently, countless people cannot think in terms of general principles, or simply do not know how to do it. They believe debating big ideas is only for impractical philosophers living in ivory towers. However, without an established set of basic principles, our everyday conversations can turn into a string of circumstantial claims.
When you tell these people that “the only legitimate role for government is to uphold individual rights” is a fundamental premise, it’s as if you haven’t said anything at all.
The responses I get are not very different than with my first example. “But what will the government do about education? What about gay rights? Will it be allowed to keep taxing citizens for the common good? What industries should the government protect to maintain jobs?”
When I restate the basic premise of government’s only legitimate role, and define some basic concepts, I get only frustration in return. “It’s all very nice in theory,” they say, “but what would you actually do if you were president?”
It was from this question that this article was born.
I posed this same question to a group of libertarians and got some interesting replies, even though it turned out that some of them were not so libertarian after all. Nevertheless, I did receive hundreds of proposals that if carried out would lead to a hopeful new beginning for a country that is literally under water.
Of those proposals, here are the top 10 concrete ways Argentina can begin to reclaim its 19-century status as global economic powerhouse:
- Privatize every government-run company, beginning with those generating greater losses, such Aerolíneas Argentinas, and free all markets.
- Remove all controls on local and foreign currency.
- Lift import and export tariffs.
- Gradually eliminate welfare programs.
- Allow schools to design their own curricula.
- Eliminate income and sales taxes.
- Wipe out any subsidy or privilege awarded to private firms.
- Decriminalize the production, sale, and use of drugs.
- Relax prohibitions on gun ownership and possession.
- Repeal labor laws and allow people to draw up their own contracts.
I want to thank those who where part of this experiment, for their time, their contributions, and above all, for their motivation to be a part of the solution.
This is not an exhaustive list and the success of the measures depends on a government that really understands its underlying principles, besides a good amount of courage and honesty.
For many, these proposals sound too radical. For libertarians, these are just a few of countless examples that can be reduced to a simple premise: every human being has a right to life, liberty, and property.