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Thatcher’s Hopeful Lesson

Conservatives in America are searching, and even despairing. They see a nation in decline and a Republican Party that lacks serious leadership and fortitude. But Margaret Thatcher, who died today, reminds conservatives that there is always hope, and that a single individual can achieve the impossible.

Thatcher, it must be said, did something her ally Ronald Reagan did not: she permanently changed the direction of her country.

Reagan certainly interrupted America’s decline and gave the right a beacon to sail endlessly toward. But just 20 years after he left office, the country elected the most leftist president in its history. And four years later, it elected him again.

Even after the lessons of Reagan, who reversed the nation’s economic decline and made clear he was doing it with free market principles, the country added a vast new entitlement, Obamacare,  that will make the government an inextricable presence in the daily lives of every American – not just those who have suffered some misfortune, including the misfortune of getting old.

And it’s the springboard for much more pervasive government intrusion. If the government can dictate your health care, it can dictate anything. Obamacare changes the whole game, and Obama knows it.

Meanwhile, even after Reagan defeated the Soviet Union by confronting it, appeasement and disengagement is back in style, as the United States reruns the tragedy of Vietnam by withdrawing too quickly and too completely from Afghanistan and Iraq while trying to negotiate with Iranian mullahs who, like HItler before them, are just trying to buy time for their evil ends.

But in Britain, as a Labor Party official once acknowledged, all are Thatcherites. She suspended what was believed even by her own Tory Party a hopeless drift to the left. She broke the unions that were destroying the country and, following the tenets of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, put Britain on a free market path from which it has never really turned back. A Labor Party that had been busy instilling socialism in the 1970s today accepts many of Thatcher’s values.

But not in the United States. The Democrats originally decided, under Bill Clinton, to mimic the Republicans. But Obama, through the force of his own personality and the purity of his left wing intentions, erased all that and, as improbable as it seemed, marched the Democrats right back toward socialism.

It is the great question of our time. Can capitalism save itself from itself?

Capitalism, combined with democracy, is just so successful that it breeds its own destruction by creating so much wealth. Wealth creates a desire for comfort. And so, with all the money lying around, the government starts handing out gifts – yes, gifts. And gifts once given are far harder to take away than had had they not been offered in the first place, and so they continue to be supported even after the government is out of money.

And that is where we find ourselves. Just today, the Wall Street Journal reported that 5.4 percent of the civilian workforce is on disability, compared to 1.7 percent in 1970. Since the recession began, the number of people on disability has risen from 7.1 million to 8.9 million. Did all these people suddenly get sick?

Reversing course will take someone who believes strongly enough in conservative principles, and who has the strength of character, to weather all attacks in the pursuit of what’s right. Who won’t stand down when assailed by political correctness, when confronted by the inevitable accusations that they love only the rich, hate minorities, are cold-hearted to the poor, and want to start wars with every nation on earth.

It will take someone like this:

16 Responses to Thatcher’s Hopeful Lesson

  1. (Sorry to dissent but there is no “misfortune to getting old”.)

    The progressive/socialist/whatevers present a mystery of what their end game will look like. They’re not dummies so they know that socialism collapses on itself when the money is gone, they also know that an unhappy people are a danger to those in power, so where are they taking us and how will they know when they get there.

    The Repubs are not in danger of losing their constituents and the only thing keeping the mean insults to their philosophy afloat is a corrupt and biased press/media. MrObama didn’t win by a landslide, but only by a fraction over 50% and who knows how many of those votes were legal.

    The liberal bias stains and pollutes our politics and those who carry this bias seem only to seek each other’s approval and opinions.
    Bernard Goldberg’s book “BIas” includes this quote; “Pauline Kael, for years the brilliant film critic at the New Yorker, was completely baffled about how Richard Nixon could have beaten George McGovern in 1972: ‘Nobody I know voted for Nixon.’ Never mind that Nixon carried 49 states. She wasn’t kidding.”

    • srdem65, I believe “they” do not believe for one moment that income can be exceeded by expenses. I think they believe that the “rich” will always be greedy in their pursuit of more riches. Therefore, they have decided that fairness is simply allowing the rich to make as much as they want IF they are willing to give 50%+ to the poor. The rich are still rich, the poor are still poor (for they have nothing significant to call their own and their reliance on government largess is magnified) and, most importantly, votes are assured and the job security/wealth accumulation of our elected officials is insured to perpetuity.

      • Yes it has. The joints that need lubricated, the faulty plumbing, the starter problems, and the worn out tires can all be ignored when compared to the freedom from the expectations of youth and the wisdom of life’s experiences.

        I like to think of myself as a 1975 4-door Mercedes with cracked leather seating, and worn out carpeting, but still a solid ride.

  2. Thank you, Keith.
    Republicans, wake up and take note.
    We must drop the McCains, Grahams, and Roves for new blood that stands for what we believe without comprimise.

  3. Thatcher, it must be said, did something her ally Ronald Reagan did not: she permanently changed the direction of her country.
    Thatcher did not have Hollywood, thousands of Proggish professors and a vast MFM apparatus arrayed against her as did Reagan.

  4. That’s a beautiful eulogy, Keith. I’m not certain, though, that Thatcher’s revolution is permanent. We have to fight Obamacare now, but she didn’t get rid of the NHS either. I thought much of the opening ceremony of the Olympics was an idealization of socialized medicine. They glossed over the reality of people being sick, in the hospital, or facing the end: it was all about the kiddies jumping on hospital beds while Mary Poppins nurses waltzed around. The Brits today also face, like us, intrusions into personal liberties and globalization.

    However, I hope the UK gets swept up into remembering Thatcher and all the other great leaders of the eighties and that we too get fired up for conservatism redux.

  5. “Thatcher, it must be said, did something her ally Ronald Reagan did not: she permanently changed the direction of her country.”

    Disagree with you, Keith. Reagan’s policies did change the direction of America. He was the first true conservative president in my lifetime. He proved that unleashing conservative ideals and principles improved the lives of all the people. He was hated by the statists in both political parties, who saw their power and control over our lives slipping from their grasp. It proved to be a short 8 years of freedom after GHW Bush sold out on his promise to be the third Reagan term. Just as GHW Bush brought us Clinton, GW Bush brought us Obama. Obama will bring us a Reagan conservative. I believe America’s experience with Obama’s theft of our individual liberty and freedom under the guise of caring for our safety and security will lead us to a Reagan conservative. Reagan showed us the way, we just have to be brave enough to keep up the fight and follow his path. Goodness always prevails.

  6. “It will take someone like this”

    It will take more than one someone like this. Even if we got the most conservative person to be found elected President, when you have the likes of McCain, Graham, Snow, etc. it will take more than one.

    These power-hungry maniacs, free-love and brain bruised hippies left over from the 60’s are negatively impacting what little common sense America has left. If we, the people, don’t wise up and elect freedom-loving, wisdom-filled individuals like Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mia Love, etc. the current group of politicians will eventually destroy what so many good people took years of blood, sweat and tears to build.