In the 2019 elections, Juan Jose Gomez Centurión’s new political party NOS – coming from “nosotros”, the first word of the Argentinian constitution – came 5th, with 2.5 per cent of the vote. This was a terrific result, considering that it had only been formed in February the same year. Gomez Centurión has since hinted at the possibility of an alliance with Lopez Murphy, an ex-presidential candidate and a key figure of the classical liberal movement in Argentina, in order to form a united conservative political movement. This is a promising first step for NOS, considering that the task ahead is to unite classical liberals, conservatives, nationalists, traditionalists, right-wing Peronists and all other political organisations who espouse conservative values.
Why is this necessary, given that there is already a supposedly “centre-right” party led by Mauricio Macri? His party, unfortunately, is not conservative. It is founded upon an eclectic mix of developmentalist policies, and has failed to deliver the economic and social principles of a true conservative.
Instead, we have suffered from his failures; which have caused soaring inflation, currently sitting at 50 per cent, a huge debt to the IMF and a country torn apart by the conflicting nature of so-called progressive ideologies which lack any semblance of common sense. He has done very little to boost economic development, most notably in his continuation of creating bloated welfare programmes – think Cristina Kirchner’s free “computers for all students”. The costs of these programmes, have inevitably fallen on the middle classes, and they have effectively been in recession since 2012.
President Alberto Fernandez has promised to reduce inflation to one digit and to rejuvenate the economy – but as this will be through government-controlled economic redistribution it is highly likely to fail. He is also planning on returning to the equally unsuccessful and destructive policies of rent-seeking social parasitism that were a key part of the disastrous Kirchnerist agenda.
However, there is a new alternative. The crisis our country is currently facing is fundamentally a crisis of values. The following principles are an integral part of NOS’ search to establish itself as a powerful force for good:
- Uphold the Argentine constitution and its values and principles
- Protect the sanctity of life and family as the basis of Argentina’s civil society
- Protect individual freedom and all its parts; private property, freedom of expression, equality under the law, economic liberty
- Defend national sovereignty and to promote community values to address social conflict
In order to be successful, the party must deliver an effective economic and social plan based on these fundamental principles. Therefore, NOS’ economic policy should be founded on the principles of reducing government spending and supporting popular involvement in a healthy, competitive and modern free-market economy.
It will draw upon the successes of Adenauer’s “German miracle”, and favour economic freedom and social justice, in order to create a larger middle class. Of course, given the social, historical and macroeconomic differences between post-war Germany and 21st century Argentina there will be some differences in implementation and policy between Gomez Centurión’s proposed roepkean “Social Market Economy” and its Rhine capitalism inspiration.
The conservative values of NOS are a guide for its new communitarian way of approaching pro-market economic reforms. It will need to promote an efficient and participative capitalist economy with a strong (but not big) state based on law and order, and to reintroduce, as a country, the basis of tradition, family and property at the same time.
In Argentina, the right-wing political spectrum – classical liberalism, traditionalism and nationalism – can overcome its differences by finding a way to achieve economic progress without compromising traditional culture, by promoting common goods without curbing productivity, and ensuring that the state defends security and elementary social services, without confusing patriotism with statism.
Conservatives must unite to fight against the steady stream of ruinous policy coming from the Argentinian left: policies that erode the family, abolitionist policies that create social chaos and reinforce corruption, artificial “progressive” measures of cultural engineering that ignore the evolutionary role of customs and habits, and price-control policies that favour the destruction of capital and private property.
The recent meeting between Gomez Centurión and Ricardo Lopez Murphy, is a good sign that a national liberal-conservative movement will be united and ready to fight in the 2021 legislative and 2023 presidential elections. These are hard times for Argentina. However, there must be a strong voice making the case for the importance of conservatism.
Co-authored by Pablo Martín Pozzoni