Get PJ Media on your Apple

Klavan On The Culture

Margaret Thatcher, RIP

April 8th, 2013 - 4:15 pm

Two stories — which are really the same story.

My father-in-law was a very talented novelist and an extremely sophisticated and witty man — and a leftist academic. One day, when I was living in London, he took me out to lunch at one of the city’s fancy private clubs. While he was describing the plot of his new novel to me, he announced triumphantly, “And Winston Churchill is going to be the villain.” Rolling my eyes, I said, “Come on! Winston Churchill single-handedly saved Western civilization!” “Yes!” countered my father-in-law, “but it’s the only good thing he ever did!”

Then, a year or so afterward, my wife and I were having dinner with a charming and delightful woman whom I liked very much. She was a writer of enormous sex-and-shopping novels that were among the most popular in the UK — and, of course, a leftist. She was talking about Margaret Thatcher and kept referring to her as “the bitch.” Finally, in all affection and good humor, I said, “You know, I visited here in the ’70s. This country was mired in a third-rate economy. The unions were bullying the government with strikes. The people were miserable. Isn’t it true that Margaret Thatcher single-handedly rescued this country and turned it around?” The lady novelist peered sullenly into her white wine and finally confessed, “Yes, she did.” Then a pause. Then she said, “But she’s still a bitch!”

The moral, I think, is this: the greatest people are often hated by the best people. That is, in order to accomplish the truly good things in life, you sometimes have to court the disapproval of the finest, most sophisticated, most appealing, most educated, and most urbane people around. You have to learn to be hated by the very people whose company you covet. It’s easy to stand up, like a leftist, against some backwoods preacher you already despise. Try standing up to your friends, your colleagues, the people you admire — then you may be on to something.

Margaret Thatcher gave a great nation one final moment of greatness.  With Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, she helped bring down an imperial tyranny that had slaughtered tens of millions. And she did it all while being reviled and sniffed at by all the in-the-know intellectuals and sophisticates who thought themselves so much wiser than she.

RIP Margaret Thatcher. When comes such another?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Is it OK if the rest of us despise those "best" people you admire so much?

(I'm not being sarcastic. I'm sure you have your reasons. But I would really suggest you pick up a copy of Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals". Who knows, you may find a play in it.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wish we could all find a way to bury once and for all the canard that creatively talented leftists are potentially more than that. They are not. They’re often morally and intellectually limited individuals. Confronted with a fact they don’t like a fact they will expertly dance around it or change the subject. They are good at this because they have done it all their lives. And they have had to do it all their lives to avoid growing up and facing the truth.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The moral, I think, is this: the greatest people are often hated by the best people. That is, in order to accomplish the truly good things in life, you sometimes have to court the disapproval of the finest, most sophisticated, most appealing, most educated and most urbane people around."

Therein lies the reason that truly great people are opposed by "elites". The proud and haughty are too busy congratulating themselves -- even if they manage to accomplish something of true worth -- and convincing themselves that if only *they* were in charge and more people simply accepted their rule and did what they were told, why, we'd have a social utopia in no time! The universities are filled with such deluded souls who failed to learn from history: when such 'elites" held absolute control, absolute misery was not far behind...in some cases, the worst atrocities and genocides in history. The poor they claim to want to help are often the first victims of their narcissistic preening.

Truly great people fly in the face of the deeply-seated, almost religious beliefs of the "elites". In some ways, they're shamed through humility, proving that hubris will never be enough to truly lead a people. And perhaps this is the true source of their ire and bitterness, the constant reminder that for all their vaunted superiority, they will never be considered "great" by history.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!what a fantastic life Margaret led.Overcame so much ,too!!Was a real lady of class thats not seen ,if rarely anymore.Next to Winston Churchhill ,there not anybody else in England that brought them back.LIz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My dear Andrew! I have no wish to malign your relatives here—if you admire them, I’m sure they deserve it. But perhaps you’ll permit me to sound a discordant note. Regrettable though it may be, being charming, delightful, sophisticated, educated, and urbane are not, alas, reliable proxies for character.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Total agreement, save for one point:

"Margaret Thatcher gave a great nation one final moment of greatness."

Final? That story hasn't been written, yet. Many thought Britain done after WWII and that the 70s were her death rattle, but Thatcher and the British showed how wrong that was. I'm not ready to say it can't happen again, though it's not likely under Cameron and the current crop of Conservatives. Still, great peoples have a way of surprising the prognosticators.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is it OK if the rest of us despise those "best" people you admire so much?

(I'm not being sarcastic. I'm sure you have your reasons. But I would really suggest you pick up a copy of Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals". Who knows, you may find a play in it.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Juxtaposing and just supposing...

This essay and the one Roger wrote today about the Cardozo law students honoring Carter...tell us virtually all we need to know about leftism and its standards.

An honorable man like Reagan was reviled and slandered. He succeeded in pulling back from the depths this land of ours, taken there by the cretin who "won" accolades by being a miserable failure at nearly every political endeavor.

Margaret Thatcher was brilliantly effective in doing the same for the Brits. And, equally reviled and equally slandered as Reagan.

Which leaves us our choice. We can honor the honorable or slander them.

And we can be honorable ourselves...or leftist. But, I am now firmly convinced... one, cannot be both.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry Mr. Klaven, but just because the "best people" you gave as examples are people that you are related to or like--for some reason--doesn't mean that they're "best" in any catagory.

By their hateful remarks, even though they knew that those they were denigrating really had done great things, they revealed themselves to be ignorant, narrow-minded bigots.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"... the greatest people are often hated by the best people."

I had to reread that three times to make sure I read it right. Huh? Best people?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
you are absolutely right.....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's another way of saying "your betters". "All the best people",,, is irony.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wish we could all find a way to bury once and for all the canard that creatively talented leftists are potentially more than that. They are not. They’re often morally and intellectually limited individuals. Confronted with a fact they don’t like a fact they will expertly dance around it or change the subject. They are good at this because they have done it all their lives. And they have had to do it all their lives to avoid growing up and facing the truth.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maggie Thatcher is the gold standard of British political leadership since 1945, and that includes Winnie's term as PM from 1951 to 1955.

She was, I agree, almost solely responsible for the brief revival of Britain which culminated in the successful defense of the Falkland Islands from Argentinian aggression in 1982.

Frankly, I am happy that the English did not allow women in government in the 18th century and that Lord North, and not she, was the Prime Minister of Britain during our celebrated and successful Rebellion against the Crown.

Perhaps Britain should take note. If I were British, I think I would prefer a sovereign that displayed the character, courage and resolve of Margaret Thatcher over those shown by Elizabeth II Windsor and her brood of chinless, spineless surrender monkeys.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Glorious day for the left!
...and let us join hands in a circle of love to give thanks that the witch is dead and that here in the US we have...Hillary, Pelosi, M'belle, Susan Saranwrap, Maxine, Boxer...er...er... Oh the quality, oh the diversity!

So enjoy the chorus of hate, and let them all dig deeper. Somewhere, 'Tina' (There Is No Alternative!) Thatcher is laughing loud, so raise a glass to her.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The moral, I think, is this: the greatest people are often hated by the best people. That is, in order to accomplish the truly good things in life, you sometimes have to court the disapproval of the finest, most sophisticated, most appealing, most educated and most urbane people around."

Therein lies the reason that truly great people are opposed by "elites". The proud and haughty are too busy congratulating themselves -- even if they manage to accomplish something of true worth -- and convincing themselves that if only *they* were in charge and more people simply accepted their rule and did what they were told, why, we'd have a social utopia in no time! The universities are filled with such deluded souls who failed to learn from history: when such 'elites" held absolute control, absolute misery was not far behind...in some cases, the worst atrocities and genocides in history. The poor they claim to want to help are often the first victims of their narcissistic preening.

Truly great people fly in the face of the deeply-seated, almost religious beliefs of the "elites". In some ways, they're shamed through humility, proving that hubris will never be enough to truly lead a people. And perhaps this is the true source of their ire and bitterness, the constant reminder that for all their vaunted superiority, they will never be considered "great" by history.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All