Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher, Heroic Liberty Crusader

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was one of the 20th Century's greatest crusaders for liberty and free markets; perhaps not always consistently, but certainly on a scale that dwarfs most politicians on the world stage. She was also an indespensible supporter of Ronald Reagan's successful anti-communist crusade.

As my tribute, I thought I'd present a sampling of others' sentiments, whose words I could hardly improve on.

The New York Post writes in Our Fair Lady:

   In her day, the toffs dismissed her as the “shopkeeper’s daughter.” For Thatcher, that was a badge of honor. Her political life was spent working for a Britain where men and women could rise not because of their class but because of their talents and enterprise.
   The bulk of that battle was moral. Against the relativists of her day, she believed the Western way of life superior to the alternatives because it was rooted in truth and human nature. For such a society to work, it depended on what political author Shirley Robin Letwin called the “vigorous virtues” — thrift, hard work, risk-taking, etc.   In other words, when she argued for free markets and democracy, it was not simply because they were more efficient. Thatcher would tell you it was because they were more moral.

In Thatcher's Victories, John O'Sullivan writes:

   As the obituaries are repeating today, Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s greatest peacetime prime minister in the 20th century and the second-greatest overall after Winston Churchill.   They list her achievements, which are many and remarkable.   In foreign policy, she was the most consistent friend to Ronald Reagan and the United States in the final struggle with totalitarian communism. In that role, she helped to bring about the downfall of Soviet communism in the 1980s, and to liberate millions worldwide from tyranny.   She revived the British economy and the spirit of the British people in the 11 years of her premiership. By 1990, when she was forced out of office, she had made Britain the fourth-largest economy in the world. She pioneered a worldwide revolution of privatization and free market that have lifted literally billions of people out of Third World poverty.

In Cherrio, Maggie--and Thanks!, Leonard Greene notes how Thatcher turned a Soviet insult into an asset:

   Thatcher got the nickname “The Iron Lady” from the Soviet Army newspaper Red Star after she criticized Moscow in a 1976 speech for being bent on world domination.   It was a moniker that Thatcher seemed to cherish.   “If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you,” she told an interviewer.
   Among her many, and sometimes controversial, accomplishments were free-market capitalism, a strong military defense and her shoulder-to-shoulder stance with Reagan in the face of Soviet aggression.

In Margaret Thatcher: Warrior for Liberty, Ari Armstrong lists a bevy of inspirational quotes from Thatcher, and concludes with:

Margaret Thatcher has passed away, but her eloquent and determined statesmanship will remain profoundly inspirational to all those fighting for a freer world.

Tom Bowden notes that there may have been A Thatcher-Rand Connection, as Ayn Rand was said to be on a list of thinkers who had influenced Ms. Thatcher. Judging by her own words, this would not be surprising.

Thatcher in her time understood something profound about the Soviet Empire; something that few in the West besides Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand understood, as indicated by her words of Eulogy for President Reagan:

   [President Reagan]  warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform.
   So the President resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. 

Margaret Thatcher is gone, but her legacy will endure, and her leadership and words will forever provide a source of strength and inspiration for freedom fighters everywhere.

Related Reading:

Margaret the Magnificent: We Desperately Need More Leaders Like Her by Steve Forbes

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