Lacalle Pou’s Lessons for Argentina

Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago. Rector of the University of CEMA. Member of the National Academy of Education. Academic Counselor for Libertad y Progreso.

INFOBAE – On March 1, in his inauguration speech, the President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, expressed: “We are convinced that if at the end of the period Uruguayans are freer, we will have done things well, otherwise , we will have failed in the essential. Allow me, then, to invite you to work for freedom in all its forms: the freedom to be able to live in peace, the freedom to choose a decent job, the freedom to be able to give your family a roof, the freedom to pursue dreams personal, because you have the tools to do it; the freedom to express the ideas of each one without fear of being harassed by those who think differently, the freedom to create, to innovate, to undertake and to tend to excellence; the freedom to criticize the government when it deserves it, the freedom to seek the happiness of each one of us along the paths that each one chooses to travel ”.

The health crisis that erupted a few days later would allow this will to be reflected in the facts. Let’s see it synthetically from the interview that Alfredo Leuco carried out in mid-July, in which Lacalle described the methodology adopted by his government to deal with the coronavirus, without decreeing a mandatory quarantine, such as the one established in our country: “The Uruguayan has a genetic vocation in freedom. It is a very precious asset, which is sometimes forgotten in daily logic. But, in the difficult ones, the Uruguayan comes out ahead with that value and defends it. That obviously inspired us: I was not willing to force Uruguayans to confine themselves, to go to a police state. ” And he emphasized it with an example: “I asked them (the opposition) if anyone was willing to go with me to get on a police mobile, and start putting people inside, people who are trying to make a weight. You can not put a prisoner who tries to gain weight. Are we not able in Uruguay to appeal to personal, individual and collective care? The Uruguayan gave a great demonstration ”.

Liberty and responsibility, two inseparable concepts, as the Uruguayan president himself remarked in an online conference organized by the Fundación Libertad, on July 25: “During these months there was strict self-control and popular censorship of those who did not carry out the relevant care. From this responsible freedom, which governed without obligation, an empowerment was generated in the citizens that will make the rulers have us much closer in the comptroller. ” How different from our reality!

Freedom? As Father Pedro Opeka points out, an Argentinean who was repeatedly proposed to the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless work with the poor in Madagascar, one of the countries most subsumed in poverty: “We must not attend, because when we do, decreasing to people, we make them dependent, almost slaves of us. And God did not come into the world to make us slaves but to set us free, to stand up. You have to fight welfare even in your own family because, if not, we will not let your children grow. Otherwise, the children will get used to receiving everything from the parents, and they grow old. The same is true of the poor. The problem in many countries, including Argentina, is that the political leaders are in charge of making them believe that the State is going to solve all problems for them. ”

Responsibility? When do we associate in our daily lives the result of our actions with our own responsibility and not with that of the other? When do we accept that our children have been deferred because they did not study and not because of the other, of the unjust teacher that chance has brought them? When do we admit that our team has been defeated due to its poor performance and not because of the other, the inept or corrupt referee, whichever is most satisfactory to our imagination? When?

Living in a normal society, in a society in which equal opportunities are favored regardless of the cradle, in a society where each man is free to fulfill himself by taking the risks he wishes to face, accessing the fruit of his right decisions and paying the costs of your mistakes, what does it depend on but education? Of formal education, which nobody doubts should improve a lot, but fundamentally of education in values. To teach our children to love freedom, but with the essential responsibility, as highlighted by Luis Lacalle Pou.

Imagine if we had done it years ago, would we be facing the pandemic as we are doing it, or would our society have demanded a strategy like that described by the President of Uruguay? If we wish never again to suffer the terrible costs that the current quarantine will have to leave, we must educate our young people to exercise freedom responsibly. The kind of society we will be a few years from now depends on it.