Letter: Jair Bolsonaro is a dangerous man - Businesslive

1 November 2018 - While the rise of Bolsonaro-style demagogues is a defeat for the political left, it is not a victory for conservatives or classical liberals.

The ascension to power of Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, as with the rise of right-wing demagogues in other parts of the world, contains great dangers for classical liberals or conservatives (in the American sense of the term).

The economic reforms Bolsonaro plans to introduce may improve the performance of the Brazilian economy, raise living standards, and increase levels of economic freedom. Motivated by opposition to the economic misery created by socialist ideologues, and schadenfreude at their defeat, critics of the political left may be tempted into endorsements of Bolsonaro and some of what he intends doing.

The classically liberal tradition does not offer its advocates that option. It requires a complete and unqualified commitment to economic and political freedom.

Many of Bolsonaro’s positions — on women, political freedom or sexual choice — are anathema to liberal beliefs. While the rise of Bolsonaro-style demagogues is a defeat for the political left, it is not a victory for conservatives or classical liberals. 

Bolsonaro is a dangerous man who tempted his supporters to trade a measure of political liberty for the promise of stability and prosperity. Offer many South Africans that choice and, given the state of the economy and experience of the past decade, they might make the same deal.

But when the deal goes bad and the requisite economic performance is not delivered, triggering a clamp down on civil liberties, the society that struck it will find itself in the same position it was in under a leftist administration.

Frans Cronje
CEO, Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2018-11-01-letter-jair-bolsonaro-is-a-dangerous-man/

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