With the narrow victory in Mexico by Felipe Calderon, and with Canada’s Stephen Harper in control, conservatives have achieved a trifecta in North America. Although these were close elections, it does signify a fundamental endorsement of free markets, property rights, and a distrust of the Statist philosophy that has retained its grip in much of Europe.
But governing is as much art as it is political science and what President Bush, P.M. Harper, and President Calderon do with their authority will presage whether their party’s tenure begins a refreshing trend or is merely a political flash in the pan.
Their task will not be made any easier because of the fact that people who are habituated to a cradle-to-grave, state-sponsored safety net and a powerful union infrastructure backed by government, are understandably fearful of the freedoms of the capitalist system.
Freedom to succeed also means the very real risk of failure, but what is typically absent from the left’s disdain of open markets and the capitalist philosophy that undergirds it, are the invaluable lessons learned when things go awry. Indeed, whether it’s a simple flaw in operations or one of cataclysmic proportions, once one gets past the immediate pain, there is a resilience that is gained. Hardscrabble economic lessons are the best teacher if one is willing to take the risks.
It’s that kind of economic and social medicine that our friends to the south and north ought to offer their citizens, but in a measured and structured manner so the experience isn’t overwhelming. In conjunction with free and fair trade agreements and tough border control, Mexico’s Calderon has an unprecedented opportunity to incorporate meaningful policy reforms in a nation desperately in need of free market solutions.
President Bush, for his part, can play a key role in facilitating tri-lateral discussions that focus on free and open markets and demonstrate the economic efficacy of reducing the regulatory and tax burdens for businesses.
Time will tell, but we can only hope that these leaders don’t squander this rare opportunity to showcase the merits of conservative economic and social values, which are the best guarantor of freedom.
Mella is Founder and Editor of ClearCommentary.com