In one corner of the ring stands Javier Milei, 52, self-described former tantric sex coach, outsider anarcho-capitalist and frontrunner in Argentina’s upcoming presidential elections; in the other, his compatriot Pope Francis, 86, world champion of the poor, repeatedly derided by Argentina’s likely next president as “a fucking communist” and “the representative of the evil one on Earth” for promoting the doctrine of “social justice” to aid the underprivileged.
Milei, a political unknown until 2020, has pledged to wage a “cultural battle” to transform Argentina into a libertarian paradise where capitalist efficiency replaces social assistance, taxes are reduced to a minimum and cash-strapped individuals are allowed to sell their body organs on the open market.
From Rome, Pope Francis has expressed grave concern about the rise of such callous policies in his home country. “The extreme right always reconstructs itself, it is the triumph of selfishness over communitarianism,” he said in a television interview in March when asked about Argentina’s upcoming elections.
In words that seemed to be referring to Milei, the only candidate in the 22 October vote with no political experience prior to 2021, the pope added: “I am terrified of saviours of the nation without a political party history.” [Continue reading…]