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Javier Milei and the Spanish Tradition of Liberty

The Spanish tradition of limited government is older than the Magna Carta. Argentina will do well to revive it.

· 9 min read
Javier Milei and the Spanish Tradition of Liberty
Buenos Aires, Argentina. 14th May 2023. Presidential candidate Javier Milei presented his book El fin de la inflación (The End of Inflation) at the 47th International Book Fair. Photo by Esteban Osorio via Alamy.

Javier Milei’s popularity has had unforeseen consequences. One of these has been the creation of the “Milei Explains” account on X (formerly Twitter), which teaches libertarian principles by posting old, subtitled interviews with Argentina’s new president. This is a welcome innovation—and not least because it is making many native speakers of the current lingua franca aware of a Spanish tradition of economic liberalism that most people did not realise even existed. 

This is important. As I wrote in 2020, Latin America needs to rediscover what legal scholar Leonard Liggio has called the “Hispanic tradition of liberty.” The expression refers to Medieval Spain’s long history of limited government, a tradition most powerfully ingrained in two historical institutions: the fueros and cortes.

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