During the Mont Pèlerin Society meeting in Guatemala in 1991, Professor Leonard P. Liggio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Liggio ) after exalting the contribution of John Adams (1797-1801), asked if there were any similar figures in Latin American history. He argued, “It is necessary to identify them, then re-examine their analysis of constitutions and institutions and show North and South America the value of their contributions. Classical liberals have an important Latin American research agenda before them.”
Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810 – 1888) is one such founding father of Latin American liberties. If we do not have more freedoms in Latin America is because tyrants of yesterday and today have been conducting a continuous conspiracy of silence toward his work. Rather than being required reading across the continent, Alberdi’s works are largely ignored, even in his native country, Argentina.
Like many of his compatriots, Alberdi spent more time outside than inside Argentina. He was a towering intellectual figure. He was a member of the Economic Society in Paris, as well as the Historical Institute of the French Geographic Society; member of the Academy of History in Madrid; member of the Geographic Society of Berlin; Envoy and Minister of the Argentine Confederation to the Court of London.
Alberdi was the greatest champion of economic freedom in South America. After the adoption of the Argentine Constitution in 1853, his native country saw a period of unprecedented economic development which lasted until September 10, 1930; when Argentine Supreme Court of Justice inagurated “The goverment of fact doctrine” by acepting as constitutional, for the first time since 1853 the replacement of an elected President.
Alberdi warned us about the dangers of war in his magnificent essay, “The Crime of War” and of totalitarian governments in his, “The Omnipotence of the State is the Negation of Individual Liberty.”
As “The Crime of War” showed, Alberdi was not afraid to criticize his own country, even during war time. Though a great champion of the republican system of government, he was aware that not all people would use political freedoms properly. He wrote, “I do not share the un-experienced fanaticism, if not hypocritical, that calls for a full load of political liberties for populations that only know how to employ them to create its own tyrants.” He recommended beginning reforms with civil liberties, especially economic freedoms. Author of countless books, monographs and newspaper articles, and even musical works.
Alberdi is one of the greatest champions of freedom ever to walk this world.