Capitalism, economic freedom and neoliberalism have, for too long, been used by their opponents as terms on which to blame all the ills of the world. Angry about poverty? Blame capitalism. Angry about climate change? Blame economic freedom. Angry about rising rents and the broken property market? Blame neoliberalism.
Practically anything in the world that’s perceived as remotely negative is blamed on these things. Often these strawman tactics are used by the very people who created said problems in the first place: those who see an ever-more active state as the solution – despite that being the fundamental issue.
1828 was founded in 2018 to champion economic and social freedom amid a resurgence of socialism in the Labour party and a Conservative party that favoured statism and social conservatism over economic and social liberalism.
Since our inception, our audience has been growing exponentially, and we’ve published just under 300 pieces, which is over 200,000 words of making the case for freedom. We’ve had excellent support and contributions from people across Westminster and in the business community, from cabinet ministers like Priti Patel and Liz Truss to strong voices on the backbenches from several parties. We have built vital links to establish – and quickly increase – our media presence. And we’ve begun to bang the drum for economic and social freedom in traditionally left-wing areas.
Our first event was at Leeds University where we hosted a speech by the then chief secretary to the Treasury, now secretary of state for international trade, Liz Truss MP. She said: “I’m very excited to be speaking for 1828, as well as to Leeds University students, because I think they are a huge part of what’s happening on the right of politics, where a lot of new ideas are coming to fruition.”
We hosted the UK’s largest-ever Free Market Road Show in May, in collaboration with the Austrian Economics Center, which included a major speech by Priti Patel, now home secretary. She said: “Jack, Matt and the team at 1828, the work that you do is absolutely vital. As champions of markets and freedom, we must all have the courage of our convictions to publicly advocate the transformational impact these principles can have on our society and our freedoms.” And Douglas Carswell, one of the panellists, said that 1828 was “better than anything happening in Parliament right now”.
We co-hosted two events at Conservative party conference, one with the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) and one with Blue Beyond. We also recently released The Neoliberal Manifesto, written by 1828 and the ASI.
We know that all our lives have been positively changed by the spread of economic and social freedom. Whether it’s the vast technological changes we have enjoyed, the life-changing advances in medicine, the global reduction in extreme poverty, or the advances in women’s and LGBT+ rights, we know that capitalism and freedom provide the path to a freer, more prosperous society.
But nowadays those values are in grave danger once again. The far left feels emboldened, gaining over 40 per cent of the vote share at the 2017 general election, and the Tory party has largely given up on making the ideological case for a free society.
So, if you value the work we do and want to see more, please help us to ensure that we can keep going. Any donation, large or small, makes a difference.
Today’s battle of ideas is far too important for proponents of freedom to sit it out. With your help, 1828 will continue to be front and centre of the campaign for a free society.