Thursday, October 07, 2010

Libertarian wins Nobel Prize in literature.

The great Peruvian novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa, won the Nobel Prize in literature.

Llosa began his career as a Marxist and was originally a supporter of Castro's revolution in Cuba. But over the years Llosa has become progressively more and more libertarian.

When Peru attempted to nationalize the financial system in 1987 Llosa led protests, drawing as many as 120,000 people to his rallies. He later launched a campaign for the presidency. After the first round of voting Llosa was in the lead but forced into a run of with Alberto Fujimora. Fujimora had the support of the Far Left as well as various evangelical churches and organizations who united forces in order to stop the common enemy of classical liberalism.

Facing constant death threats from the radical Left Llosa left Peru. Llosa's novels exposed authoritarianism and defended the individual. And it is for this that he was awarded the prize: "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." While LLosa continues to write fiction he is president of the Fundaction Internacional para la Libertad. His son, Alvario Vargas Llosa is a libertarian writer living in the United States

Llosa wrote an essay, in response to attacks from the socialist Left that he was a "neo-liberal." In that he described how many Latin American Leftists, such as himself, "have evolved from being bitter enemies of economic liberty to embracing the wise confession of Vaclav Havel: 'Though my heart may be left of center, I have always known that the only economic system that works is a market economy... This the only natural economy, the only kind that makes sense, the only one that can lead to prosperity, because it is the only one that reflects the nature of life itself.'"

In that essay Llosa wrote:
The present battle is perhaps less arduous for [classical] liberals than the one that our teachers fought. In that battle, central planners, police states, single-party regimes, and state-controlled economies had on their side an empire that was armed to the teeth, as well as formidable public relations campaign, conducted in the heart of democracy by a fifty column of intellectuals seduced by socialist ideas. Today, the battle that we must join is not against great totalitarian thinkers like Marx, or intelligent social democrats like John Maynard Keynes, but, rather, against stereotypes and caricatures that attempto to introduce doubt and confusion in the democratic camp; hence the multiple offensive launched from various trenches against the monster nicnamed neoliberalism.
Llosa said that classical liberals must realize that "we are working toward an attainable goal. The idea of a world united around a culture of liberty is not a utopia but a beautiful and achievable reality that justifies our efforts."

Llosa himself says he was completely surprised by the award. Llosa long believed that his libertarian sentiments would exclude him from possible winning. As he joked: "I have taken all the precautions necessary for them never to give it to me." One bookie in England, who takes bets on such things said they would be sending Llosa a "crate of champaign" "because he's helped us dodge a massive payout." Llosa was an outsider pegged with a 25-1 chance of winning. Peru's president, Alan Garcia, said: "This is a great day, because the world has recognized the visionary intelligence of Mario Vargas Llosa and his libertarian and democratic ideals." Llosa himself said in an interview that "I became very enthusiastic with the branch of liberalism which is libertarian, so this is what I am."

Llosa's full essay in included in The Liberal Tide: From Tyranny to Liberty, which is well worth purchasing. Those who insist on using Amazon may purchase the book for $11.95 here. Those who wish to buy it directly for $11.95, given the full profit to a libertarian organization instead of giving 20% to Amazon, may order a copy by calling 480-684-2651.

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