Austin Hill

The headlines were telling, but the caption on the protester’s sign said it all: Brazil Woke Up.

Did you see it? It appeared at Drudgereport.Com for a couple of days last week. It linked to a news story that detailed the uprisings which have been nicknamed the “vinegar movement” and the “salad revolt” and that have plagued that entire country for several days.

The protestations have been so named because of a video that recently went viral on YouTube which depicted a journalist named Piero Locatelli being arrested for carrying a bottle of vinegar in his backpack. Protesters theorize that covering ones face with a vinegar soaked cloth helps one to resist teargas, yet law enforcement officers (at least in Brazil) theorize that vinegar can be used to make a bomb (the veracity of either of these theories is, at least in my mind, questionable).

Residents of Sao Paulo were already furious over yet another recent rate hike with their public transportation lines. But then seeing a guy get incarcerated for merely possessing vinegar turned out to be the match that struck the fuse which then ignited the powder keg. So now vinegar is to Brazilians as tea was to Bostonians in 1773.

At the core of the protests lies one important truth: human beings naturally want to live with freedom and dignity. Brazilians are experiencing yet again the tyrannical and undignified consequences of a big, inefficient, and abusive government, and they are perhaps learning all over again that government frequently can’t provide even the most basic of services, let alone fulfill all its promises.

The Brazilians’ story is not unique. It has been repeated throughout the course of history, while slightly different versions of it are playing out right now in Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Iran, Egypt and Greece. And to a lesser but yet very real degree, it is our story right now in the United States.

Think about it. In America, layers upon layers of dysfunctional and inefficient federal, state and local government consume more and more of our economic resources (and all too often we eagerly agree to hand over those resources), while providing fewer and fewer services. Agents of government frequently enjoy the best employee benefits and retirement pensions at taxpayer expense. Self-gratifying politicians in turn rage against “rich people” and insist that some of our fellow Americans aren’t paying their “fair share” in taxes, while legislatively dodging the very rules and constraints that they place on the electorate.


Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.