Political Philosophy

1] 38South stands for classical liberalism of people such as John Locke, America’s Founding Fathers, Lord Acton, and the radical English Whigs, such as John Wilkes and Charles James Fox. In the United States, such a political outlook is described as ‘conservative’, although historically it is the only political philosophy which is genuinely radical and liberating.

2] British readers should note that we totally reject the condescending paternalism of the old Conservative Party. However, 38South broadly supports Margaret Thatcher, whose political philosophy was not noblesse oblige Tory, but classical liberal, and which philosophy filled the space vacated by the philosophical and electoral collapse of the Liberal Party.

3] It needs to be clearly stated that we are not anarchists, nor are we so-called ‘libertarians’. We do not oppose government as such, because government is an inevitable part of the spontaneous order. We do believe in the necessity for principled government which is decentralized to the greatest degree possible, and which is subject to stringent constitutional limitations.

The Role of Government:

1] A federal government’s powers should be confined to the defense of the realm (which may encompass federal police bodies), the enforcing of individual rights in all states of the Commonwealth, matters concerning immigration and public health (such as immunization), and a very limited number of other functions, such as the construction and maintenance of lighthouses.

2]Restrictions on production and trade between free individuals are not proper functions of any level of government.

3] With regard to individual rights, the protection of property rights, including those of intellectual property by means of patent and copyright, are essential functions of a federal government in a free society, and are the source of all other natural rights, such as the right of free expression.

4] Other matters can be dealt with by the states or, preferably, by smaller political entities such as town councils.

Economic Philosophy

1]In this field 38South is fairly closely aligned with the Austrian school of economics: that of Frederic Bastiat, Karl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Henry Hazlitt. Historically, these are the major creative scholars in Austrian school economics. There are many other active Austrian school economists around the world. Austrian School Economics

a) The Austrian School demonstrates how a free society, which necessarily includes a free economy, maximizes human opportunity, culture, and non-wasteful wealth creation, by permitting the evolution of a non-coercive spontaneous order, in which economic planning is performed by all individuals producing and trading, or exchanging ideas, in a free and co-operative fashion.

b) The spontaneous (or extended) order is the central concept of a free society: a society which does not require the enforcible direction of a centralized bureaucracy in order to function peacefully and productively.

c) The Austrian School does not employ economic models. It accepts that human behavior is far too complex to be mathematisable, yet it is the only school of economics with a successful predictive record in the laboratory of economic history, and consequently the only form of economic analysis which can correctly be described as ‘scientific’.

d) The Austrian School also stresses that the methodologies of engineering, or physics, or mathematics, or any other field, cannot be applied to economics: “It is the worst of all superstitions to assume that the epistemological characteristics of one branch of knowledge must necessarily be applicable to any other branch.” – Ludwig von Mises

2] 38South does have common ground with certain economists outside the Austrian school, such as Milton Freidman.

Government Finance

1] Taxation should be as decentralized as possible, and should be simple, transparent, and not progressive in the imposition of its burden.

2] Taxation should not be a means of penalizing or punishing the most productive members of society; nor be a means of interfering with, and modifying, people’s free choices and behaviour.

3] We believe that taxation should pay for the functions of government listed above, and no more.

The Law

1] 38South believes that the legal structure of a country should be based on established common law principles, and should be clearly defined, objective, and non-partisan. It should be basically concerned with the protection of life and property, and with the just and unprejudiced settling of disputes between men of good will.

2]We also believe that each nation state should set it own laws within the framework of its own constitution and determine those laws within the same context without reference to the laws of any other state or jurisdiction.

3] We believe that most matters requiring government intervention or definition should be handled at a local level.

4] We further believe that legislation should never be created in order to bring about a selective and predetermined result. Instead, it should be merely a reflection of the moral base of society. Hence, we reject the collectivist idea that the law is an appropriate vehicle for the orchestration of people’s peaceful behavior.

Religion

1] 38South believes that the separation of church and state is a necessity for a free society.

2] With regard to religions, we favour conservative Christian and Jewish doctrines, but maintain an attitude of broad tolerance towards all religions of goodwill, as well as to atheism and agnosticism.

3] We reject the hijacking of religion in the name of ‘social justice’, in order to advance political aims which are most often collectivist, socialist, and totalitarian.

4] We view with apprehension the current struggle for the soul of Islam, and we do not accord the fundamentalist and militant wing of that faith the same tolerance as we extend to other religions.

Epistemology

38 South stands for objectivity, reason, and rigorous scientific analysis uncorrupted by fashionable politics. We do not cling desperately and childishly to outmoded doctrines that have provably failed and reject sentimentality as the antithesis of reasoned debate and ordering of society as a whole.

Methodology

38 South promotes iconoclastic and intellectually challenging writers who are not beholden to the establishment left, and who present their ideas in a strongly polemical form. This is a valid tradition in intellectual discourse, and one that the left itself employed shamelessly for the duration of the twentieth century. We make no apologies for it.