The Anarcho-Capitalist President and the Madman's Lair

Argentina's President Javier Milei: The Anarcho-Capitalist as Leader of the Free World?


Javier Milei is an unlikely president. The libertarian economist and TV pundit rose to power on a populist wave of anger at the established political class and a promise to enact a radical program of austerity. "Let it all blow up," he told supporters, including many who were drawn to his divisive and eccentric campaign persona, El Loco. "Take this entire garbage political caste down with it."

The Anarcho-Capitalist as Leader of the Free World?

Milei has sees himself as a pioneering global visionary, and his presidency as a test case for a radical governing theory. "I have no doubt," he told TIME, "that Argentina will become a model for how to transform a country into a prosperous nation." Critics are less convinced and believe that Milei's eccentricities threaten to undermine his message and his nation.

The Lion and the Anvil

The offices of the Casa Rosada, the iconic presidential palace in the heart of Buenos Aires, are ornate and opulent. But President Milei hates it. The man who railed against government waste and the bloated state hates that his office is adorned with chandeliers and stained glass. He also hates the blue chair, which all previous presidents have sat in, that he is required to occupy for official photos. But there is one small detail that Milei loves: a bronze lion, engraved into a fireplace mantle in his office. It was waiting for him, he says, when he arrived at the Casa Rosada.

The Man Who Would Be King

Milei channels the populist anger that propelled him to power but also casts himself as a broader cultural crusader. He has exported his nation's pain to overseas speaking gigs, casting himself as a champion of capitalism and antagonist to a ubiquitous "socialism." "I didn't come here to lead lambs, but to awaken lions," he says, echoing a favorite biblical passage.

The Lioness

Milei is surrounded by a few close advisers, but one of the most important is his sister, Karina Milei, who serves as his gatekeeper and closest political adviser. The former tarot card reader is now in charge of which journalists the president speaks to and which photos of him are released. She also reportedly influences who gets hired and fired in his Cabinet.

The Road to Power

Milei's path to the presidency was paved with his volcanic outbursts and a messianic belief that God had ordained him as the nation's savior. He also drew inspiration from foreign leaders like Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, casting himself as a champion of the free market and adversary of a ubiquitous socialism.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Madman

Milei is a prolific tweeter, with a feed bursting with all-caps accolades and fiery broadsides. He likes to stay up late scrolling through posts on the former Twitter, keeping up a prodigious pace that an Argentine programmer turned into a popular website: "How many tweets has our President liked today?"

The Astonishing Things That Are Happening

Milei declares that

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