Ron Paul Inspires Brazilians to Question Government

SÃO PAULO, Brazil, September 7, 2014 – When it comes to Brazilian politics, one way to attack your adversary is to accuse him or her of advocating limited government. Privatization—even for very inefficient state owned companies—is a strange idea to most candidates and has no place in their political agendas.
Recently, there has been a timid yet steady growth of interest in liberalism and libertarianism in Brazil. This change of mind reflects the hard work and continuous efforts of initiatives like Instituto Ludwig von Mises Brasil which, since its foundation in 2007, has been promoting the principles of free market and free society.
In this scenario, former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul was invitedHelio-Beltrao-Mises-Brasil1 to come to Brazil for two conferences in São Paulo and was interviewed by Veja magazine, the leading weekly publication in the country and one of the most influential outlets of Brazilian press (photo at right is of Helio Beltrao, president of the Instituto Ludwig von Mises Brasil, with the article). This exclusive interview was published this Saturday and covered seven major points: being a libertarian, income taxes, public education, quotas, central bank, Middle East conflict and “bolsa família”—the Brazilian social welfare redistributive program that has been around for more than 10 years now.
About being a libertarian, Dr. Paul states (my translation from Portuguese): “I believe in individual liberty. Each one has the right to life and to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Government should never interfere with that. The basic principle of Libertarianism is that a citizen cannot initiate aggression against another one.”
Talking about income taxes, Dr. Paul affirms that in the United States income taxes were introduced after 1930 and that people lived very well before that. “In the same way someone is not allowed to come into my home and steal from me, governments also have no authority to do such thing. But that’s what they have done with the income taxes. The prevailing idea is that the government owns us and therefore has the right to everything we earn, but for some reason has decided to let us keep a part of it. I reject that thought. Even if the income tax was only 1 percent that would still be objectionable. Without this intervention there would be much more prosperity and jobs.”
As far as social programs are concerned, Dr. Paul is very clear in his point: “There is not a single example in the world of a social program, like this one in Brazil, that has succeeded by simply redistributing government money.” He continues: “In Congress, I saw many well-meaning politicians voting in favor of social programs that I knew were bad. They don’t understand that, by increasing spending, what they do is to raise inflation and destroy the middle class.”
On the subject of public education he gave the example of Washington D.C., the only American city that has public schools enforced by law: “About $20,000 a year is spent with a single student. The result of such investment is that there is more crime in the city and the worst educational system of the country.” Another issue addressed by Dr. Paul is the fact that public school follows the government agenda: “The way I see things, people should be able to teach their own children at home and get rid of this kind of State education.”
He also spoke against saving places on public universities for students that went to public school. “That can never work. The level of education will certainly drop.” He also affirmed that: “There is no sense to give privileges to someone just because that person belongs to some group or another. … The quota system has been a failure in the United States and is not a solution for any country.”
One of his favorite subjects—central banks—was addressed as well. Dr. Paul explained once again that “what the Fed does is to tell what is the value of the money and interests, that’s why it should be abolished: the information provided by the system of prices is crucial and should not be manipulated” because it indirectly destroys the economy.
Last, but not least, he talked about the Middle East conflict, and claimed that local powers should take care of Islamic terrorists, not Americans. “War has always caused economic problems. Productivity is shifted to build weapons with destruction power, not to build good things.”
Dr. Paul’s first conference will take place in São Paulo, on Sunday afternoon September 7th, the Brazilian (so-called) Independence day. We hope that his talk will help people to start questioning their strong belief in government and to really become more independent from it.