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Javier Milei Means More of the Same for Argentina

Javier Milei, the right-wing Argentine populist and presidential hopeful, is being touted by some as the man who will save his country’s economy. But Milei’s main calling card is not the soundness of his policies – some of which are truly bizarre – but his performance of indignation.

LONDON – According to psychologists, confirmation bias is one of the most common tricks our brains play on us. Unwittingly, we distort evidence to continue believing what we want to believe. That is what many commentators are doing in the wake of the primary victory by Javier Milei, the right-wing Argentine populist and presidential hopeful.

The Wall Street Journal writes that the “Argentine middle class may no longer accept a status quo that robs them of the fruits of their labor,” and sings Milei’s praises for wanting to “open markets, cut public spending, end capital controls, and privatize state-owned enterprises.” A respected local consultant writes in his report to clients that Argentina is finally going back to the late nineteenth century, when free enterprise reigned unhindered.

They wish. Something big is happening in Argentina, but it is not a grassroots free-market movement. It is an anti-establishment revolt, of the kind Latin America specializes in nowadays. The only party to have been returned to office recently was Daniel Ortega’s in Nicaragua, and Ortega stole that election.