[this is a text i wrote on the situation of Brazilian liberalism – not readily applicable anywhere else]
Brazilian political tradition, heir to Portuguese and Iberian political traditions, is a tradition of centralization, dirigisme, nationalism, militarism, “great saviors for the homeland” – its epitome is Vargism.
Any respectable Brazilian conservatism will conserve this tradition. That Vargas is disputed both by Left and Right is an example that such is Brazil’s general political culture. Brazilian conservatism was never and hence will never be an Old Whig or a New Tory, it will never be Burkean.
Liberalismo, therefore, is radical opposition in Brazil. It is isolated at a corner, always a minority. If liberalismo doesn’t put itself there, the option is its death. For any alliance means its effacement and the undoing of its advance. There is no tradition of popular will which it can cling to. Its only defense is its morality and efficiency.
A liberalism that repeats its past mistakes – its shady alliance with the military – will have the same destiny of previous liberalisms – guilty of everything, all the while powerless.
Brazilian liberalism in the 21st century needs a wall. A gigantic, extensive wall between itself and conservatism.
Whoever opposes such creation, must be on the other side of it. Those that want half-freedom do not interest us. Populist and vainglorious emotions do not interest us. At last, no alliances interest us. Socialists have known this for years now, and have built their own wall. If we want any chance of doing anything liberal, we must do the same.
If “liberalism” means anything, its a combination of modern – shifting, inovative, industrial – and counter-political. It seeks to release the individual from the ties of the state, so that they can create new things, by themselves, in a competitive environment (market). The defense of “the tradition of spontaneous order (…), the conception of commercial society as relief from politics, and (…) naturalistic approaches that position distributed, competitive dynamism as an ultimate explanatory and genetic principle”. This is its creed. This is its profession of faith. It is this that we – liberals – will defend.
To those that worship other gods, may they have their own space to test what they think – and that’s why we defend the idea of a republic (i.e., rule of law), a constitution and federalism. On your side of the wall, you do what you will. This is our relation to the others: autonomy.
Thus is how we promote liberty: exit creation, separation, disintegration, fragmentation, independence. The rest is none of out interest.