I fear I'm about to lose my country

I just came back from voting and I fear I’m about to lose my country.

Now, there will probably stil be a country in the south of the world called Argentina in a few years, with more or less the same territory.

But my country is a country where anyone, from anywhere in the world, of any race, creed or religion can come, be welcome, live a few years and then be granted citizenship.

My country is a country where everybody can receive a free education, primary, secundary and tertiary, with some of the best universities in South America, and what is more, all those institutions are open to non-citizens, from anywhere in the world, of any race, creed or religion.

My country is a country where anyone can receive free healthcare, may be not the best in the world, but the best we can manage, anyone, from anywhere in the world, of any race, creed or religion.

My country is a country where the state is (or tries to be) on the side of the workers in their relationship with employers, where we have paid vacations, paid maternal (and paternal) leave, and indemnizations for unwarranted firings.

My country is that country, and I fear that if the worst option wins these elections (and it’s a very real possibility), in a few years it will be that country no more.

I feel like the whole world has been shifting right in the last decade or so. Sounds like Argentina might be joining the backwards movement.

I wish you well. In times like these, one way to keep up hope is to remember that history doesn’t repeat as much as cycle. Leftward swings create backlash that create rightward swings that create backlash that create leftward swings … None of the swings precisely mirrors the last - the world itself changes too much from period to period - nor does the backlash take exactly the same form.

Backlash is the one certainty. Waiting for it is often slow and agonizing but the citizenry usually knows what they don’t want before they know what they want.

The problem is that the party that may win is not just right-wing, we’ve suffered right wing governments before, these are libertarians, specially nasty, Trump-loving, Bolsonaro-admiring libertarians.
Rebuilding everything they wreck is going to take decades, if we are lucky.

That is so often the problem.

True, it is much easier to trash a place than to rebuild it. That includes peoples’ minds.

If it’s any consolation dear @Frodo, the USA seems hell-bent on following down that same trail. If the Ds win our next election that’ll slow things down for 2-4 years. If the Rs win big, we’ll be in freefall much as you might be here soon.

It’s certainly true as our resident actual historian says that swings produce backlashes that produce swings that …

The problem is that one human lifetime is usually only enough to ride from the middle to one extreme and back to the middle. Or from one extreme to the other.

About 66% turnout at this point, more than the primaries which is a good sign, will it be enough? nobody knows.
This is almost worse than the World Cup final…

Please keep us posted. It’s important. I wish you all the best.

At this point there are some positive signs, “positive” however, means that we’ll have a runoff election in a month, were we’ll see if the least worst option can beat the very worst option.

One of our political comics some years ago said:

"I keep hearing people say: ‘It’s like I have to choose the lesser of two evils!’ "

“I keep telling them that it’s important that the least evil wins!”

It is!, as they said voting is not self expression, voting is like public transport, you take the bus that gets you closer to your destination.

If Marxists can take issue with what existed in the Soviet Union being called “Communism”, I take issue with calling Trump or Bolsonaro libertarians.

But I didn’t say that Trump and Bolsonaro were libertarians, I said that these particular kind of libertarian loves trump and admires Bolsonaro.

Or in other words, that they not only follow a political ideology I don’t share, they are also reactionaries of the worst kind.

Honestly, I’m not convinced that the elements listed in the OP are sustainable. Argentina is alone in the world as having regressed from being a high income country around 1900 to a middle income country after WWII. There aren’t all that many examples around the world that conservatives can point to where an overly generous welfare state substantially repressed economic growth over a long period of time, but Argentina is arguably one of them.

None of that implies that eg Fascism is a good idea. Best wishes to Frodo: Argentina is in a better place than any war zone, but it nonetheless faces some very tough challenges.

So-so guest article from Noah Smith’s blog:

Some of those elements my need what we call “ajuste”, but I’d much rather prefer that those adjustments be done in sorrow, cutting as little as possible, than with glee by maniacs that campaign with a chainsaw and promise to “cut everything”.

Also this is by no means certain, the “high income Argentina” of the 1900s was probably a mirage due to external market conditions.

I haven’t dug into this in great detail, but the Angus Madison dataset suggests relatively high levels of income for Argentina from 1913-1937, and fairly continuous relative decline afterwards through 1995, with no reversal afterwards.

Argentina’s GDP Per Capita (PPP) as a % of various countries

Year	UK	US 	Spain		
1850	52%	78%	109%		
1870	45%	69%	120%		
1913	83%	82%	184%		
1929	89%	73%	155%		
1937	75%	69%	231%		
1960	72%	54%	164%		
1973	74%	53%	102%		
1995	51%	36%	58%		
2018	49%	34%	59%		

Graph here:

I’m not sure what country would be the perfect comparison, but I tried to present a variety. Peaks against US, UK, and Spain were in 1913, 1929 and 1937.

But that’s the point, we had a great GDP in the 1900’s (distributed mostly among 1 percent of the population, but that’s another story), on the back of exporting cows to the UK and pretty much nothing else.
That was a state of affairs very unlikely to persist.