Libre University: Why Liberals Fail Over and Over Again in Latin America
EspañolOn Friday, the University of Chile School of Law hosted Libre University 2014, sponsored by the Libertarian Society of Chile and Chile Students for Liberty. Agustín Laje Arrigoni, director of the Center for Liberty and Responsibility Studies and chief editor of La Prensa Popular of Argentina, was invited to give a talk on “The Cultural Battle of Liberalism in the Latin-American Context.”
During his talk, Laje highlighted the unsuccessful strategy implemented by the current Latin-American liberal movement in engaging the anti-liberal collectivist ideology that is prevalent throughout Latin America. Laje believes that this problem stems from the liberal movement’s exclusive focus on materialist economics when it comes to the defense of their doctrine. Despite the important role that the ideas of notable liberal figures of the past century, such as Mises, Hayek, or Rand, may have played, it seems as though the 21st century liberal movement is completely absent in the so-called “culture war.”
In short, Laje says, the culture war can be seen as the clash of ideologies that molds popular opinion in society. It is not difficult to see why academia, in particular, and education in general, is found in the hands of distinct branches of collectivist thought. Nevertheless, Laje believes that it is not too late for liberals to fight back, and argues that through self-analysis liberals can get back on their feet to continue this battle.
Libre University is an initiative of the Libertarian Society of Chile with the aim of creating an open and educational atmosphere. Created in 2013 and inspired by the French tradition of “popular universities,” it seeks to spread information over relevant topics concerning the philosophy of liberty to as many people as possible. By the same token, these talks are absolutely open and free. So far, five talks have taken place, which have all been published on the Libertarian Society’s website.