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It’s Time for Thatcherism

“FOR ME, THE HEART OF POLITICS is not political theory, it is people and how they want to live their lives.

No one who has lived in this country during the last five years can fail to be aware of how the balance of our society has been increasingly tilted in favour of the State at the expense of individual freedom. “

These words were not written this week, this month or this year.  They were written April 11, 1979 in the forward to the Conservative General Election Manifesto, by Margaret Thatcher.   As America is now facing similar circumstances, harkening back to Baroness Thatcher’s Britain of 1979 enables us to see that while things appear bleak in the U.S., we are by no means as far gone as Britain was in 1979.  However, 1979 Britain is analogous to our current situation in America and there is a great deal to be learned.

In 1979 Britain was considered a hopeless case.  Socialism was advanced, Labour was in charge, there was rampant pessimism and the general consensus was that Britain was no longer seen as a global power.  Margaret Thatcher reversed this. 

Claire Berlinski, author of “There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters” recently gave a lecture at the Heritage Foundation.   Ms. Berlinski stated that Lady Thatcher was successful in winning public opinion not because she was willing to compromise, but because she pointed out that socialism is an inherently wicked system.  It is not a matter of a good idea that has just been misapplied, but that it is morally wrong and produces weak citizens and should be rejected root and branch at all costs.  Ms. Berlinski also referenced the work of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.  Any conservative seriously considering running for the Presidency of the United States must familiarize himself or herself with Margaret Thatcher’s success in Britain if he or she is to stand a chance at succeeding in turning America’s fortunes around. 

Berlinski also noted that a strong moral case against centralized power needs to be made.   Americans still believe in the American dream and know that any system which takes away the individual’s right to make choices is evil.  In a country that embraces freedoms such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion, the case must also be made for economic freedom.   Economic freedom is ethical.  Economic freedom empowers the individual and creates stronger citizens.    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to help the sick and poor, but a society cannot provide for the sick and poor by stealing from those who produce to give to those who do not.  It is via the free market that healthy societies are sustained.

America is at a turning point and now more than ever the question is not about compromising, it is about standing for something.  Margaret Thatcher stood for something.   In order for a candidate to get elected and to succeed as  President in turning America around, that person must stand for something.  To quote Baroness Thatcher, “Our country’s relative decline is not inevitable. We in the Conservative Party think we can reverse it, not because we think we have all the answers but because we think we have the one answer that matters most. We want to work with the grain of human nature, helping people to help themselves – and others. This is the way to restore that self-reliance and self-confidence which are the basis of personal responsibility and national success.” 

The American people are realistic and can handle the truth.  They understand that a financially weak country cannot remain a super power and they do not want to see America in a state of decline.   Americans are disgusted with politicians who are out of touch or who arrogantly deride the electorate.  They want to be told the truth and are willing to accept the difficult task of working towards recovery.  Margaret Thatcher understood these same facts about the British electorate in 1979 and the candidate who is willing to tell it like it is to the American people today will be the one to save America from demise.    Perhaps an even more timely quotation comes from Keith Joseph, the man Margaret Thatcher once referred to as her closest political friend, “This is not the time to be mealy mouthed.  Intervention is destroying us.”  

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