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Margaret Thatcher, RIP

April 11th, 2013 - 4:34 am

I have been out of town in a semi-secure, undisclosed location and have not had occasion to weigh in on the death of Margaret Thatcher.  I happened to be with some close friends of hers when the news came, so I’ve been kept abreast of the currents of opinion.  Much of the commentary, as was fitting for so great and dynamic a political leader, has been celebratory and reverential. Margaret Thatcher was the woman who reclaimed Britain for itself, who put an end to the squalid deprivations of post-war austerity, and who with Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, helped face down the hideous evil of Soviet Communism. (On this latter, see John O’Sullivan’s magisterial The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World.) She understood, as few other contemporary leaders have understood, the fructifying symbiotic relationship between free markets and free men.

It’s something that is beyond the ken of many beneficiaries of the mighty cornucopia of capitalism. This melancholy fact was instantly brought home to me by the outpouring of sweaty hatred from the mephitic swamps of leftist animus. Over at NRO, Andrew Johnson aggregated a few early specimens: “Thatcher is dead, but unfortunately Thatcherism lives on. Let’s bury it with her.” From George Galloway: “Tramp the dirt down.” Ted Rall: “Goodbye, Maggie, and good riddance. Along with Reagan, Thatcher destroyed the safety net and the social contract in the West.” Donna Brazile: “Okay, what did the #ironlady do to advance Great Britain and the world? Did she leave lasting footprints for women in politics?” Et very much cetera.

Such spiteful, squamous yammering was partly repellent, partly embarrassing. It was more than counterbalanced, however, but the cataract of grateful remembrance and insightful commentary from those who understood the dimensions of Thatcher’s benefactions. One of the best early commentaries was “Thatcher Was Right, the Left Was Wrong,” Kevin Williamson’s brief intervention, also at NRO. Kevin dilates particularly on Thatcher’s brilliant deployment of good humored intelligence in her many spirited clashes with her ideological opponents: “she seemed to be having so much fun,” Kevin noted.

That, I think, is what they never forgave her for. Thatcher laughed at them, mocked them, outwitted and out-debated them. That infuriated the Left: Conservatives aren’t supposed to mock, they are supposed to be mocked. They might be allowed to win a few elections, but they could never be allowed to win the argument, much less to scoff at liberals’ public pieties.

Thatcher won, in no small part because she was her own best case. Her confidence, prudence, good humor, and other virtues were those she sought to encourage in her fellow countrymen.

Exactly so. And Kevin is also right when he goes on to observe that there is a sense in which “we should be grateful to the odious likes of Ted Rall and Donna Brazile.”

As the treacly and insincere tributes from the likes of Barack Obama roll in, we should remember: They hated Margaret Thatcher. Hated her. Reviled her. Hated everything she stood for. Still do. So I do not really want to hear any tributes to her from the left side of the political aisle today. If you were not around at the time, it will be hard for you to appreciate the vulgarity and the cruelty of the attacks to which she was subjected. They hated her for the same reason they hated Reagan: She aimed to defeat socialism abroad and socialism at home, appreciating the structural continuity between domestic socialism and the idea’s full expression under the Soviets.

Indeed. And this is where the passing of Lady Thatcher intersects with contemporary political reality. She won the battle she fought against the totalitarian temptation, but it is a battle that is renewed in every generation. Experience has not  been a successful teacher where the folly of murderous utopia is concerned. We’ve seen the gulags, the poverty, the immiseration, but we continue to embrace the “spread-the-wealth-around” policies that lead there like a superhighway.

That is one reason the example of leaders like Reagan and Thatcher are so uplifting: they show us that victory, if inevitably temporary in this fallen, sublunary world, is nontheless possible. They remind us, as Kevin notes, that “Those who opposed her and reviled her were on the wrong side of the most important question of their age, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with tyrants, many of them as guilty as those who manned the gulag watchtowers. And even today, when they make their pilgrimages to sit at the feet of Castro or bury Chávez, when they put leftist terrorists on their payrolls, they know: They lost. What they do not know, because they are incapable of understanding the fact, is that they deserved to lose. We should not allow them to pretend that they were on the right side all along.”

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Top Rated Comments   
I love Maggie because she called out Mandela for the communist racist terrorist that he is.

I love Maggie because she supported the anti-marxist superhero Augusto Pinochet

America could really use a Pinochet today
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
~Milton Friedman

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.
~Mencken

Magical references to "society" and its programs to "help" may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power into the hands of bureaucrats.
~Thomas Sowell

Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe.
~Sowell

In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.
~Edward Gibbon
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maggie: "When they raise their clenched fist and shout, 'Power to the people,' we know what they really mean: 'Power over people --- All power to the State.'"

Right on, Maggie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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During the entire post war period but particularly during the 70s Britain was the target of a KGB directed campaign to undermine the British state through exploitation of industrial and social unrest. The KGB allies in this were the trade unions, the trades union congresses (particularly in Scotland where communism is a main stream political belief), the ISWP and the left wing of the Labor party. Thatcher stood up to this campaign and defeated it. That is why they hate her, she beat them, she exposed their idiotic economic and political arguments as the claptrap they are, she will never be forgiven for this, but then she didn't care.
Where is the republican party candidate who will stand for liberty, private property rights, a universal flat tax and a vast reduction in the bureaucracy?
Nowhere, that's where, so we are doomed to carry on the path of demoralization and destruction that Margaret Thatcher identified and fought against.
RIP, a great Lady.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
She took the name "Iron Lady," intended as a slur, but worn with pride, and dignity and class. She earned it.

I fear we won't see another of her king in out lifetimes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The left has a much more virulent strain of hatred reserved for conservative women than men. In their world women and children are the malleable, unformed putty with which to construct their eventual utopia. Women who see through this fantasy are not only ungrateful, they are an existential threat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The toiling insects that on the left, never give up. It is a job for Orkin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure that one can utter a sentence with Ted Rall and Donna Brazile in the same breath and not smell sulfur.

Ted Rall is the atom's way of exacting revenge for smashing them together in an accelerator. They formed a subhuman life and let the stench of it walk among us, there ought to be a wiki called a Rall that describes this vengeful act.

As for why they hate Margaret Thatcher, because hate and slander...that's what they do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...fructifying symbiotic relationship between free markets and free men."

Hmmm... Sounds a bit... ? Toss in the second coming of A. Wei*er and the PJM editors would certainly say "No!"

However, Mr. Kimball is right on with this piece.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I love Maggie because she called out Mandela for the communist racist terrorist that he is.

I love Maggie because she supported the anti-marxist superhero Augusto Pinochet

America could really use a Pinochet today
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can't think of a bigger compliment than to be dissed by the likes of the corrupt, self-serving George Galloway, the weird and thoroughly mercurial Andrew Sullivan or the completely wacky Donna Brazile.

Or those nut job British Occupier types yelling and screaming and carrying anti-Thatcher signs in the streets of Britain, most of whom weren't even alive when she was PM.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maggie: "When they raise their clenched fist and shout, 'Power to the people,' we know what they really mean: 'Power over people --- All power to the State.'"

Right on, Maggie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
~Milton Friedman

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.
~Mencken

Magical references to "society" and its programs to "help" may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power into the hands of bureaucrats.
~Thomas Sowell

Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe.
~Sowell

In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.
~Edward Gibbon
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maggie: "When they raise their clenched fist and shout, 'Power to the People,' we know what they really mean: 'Power over people --- All power to the State.'"


Right on, Maggie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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