Margaret Thatcher: October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013 “No liberty unless there is economic liberty”

Posted on April 8, 2013 by

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Freedom lost a true ally with the passing of the “Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher. The quote in the title is from a Time interview from May 14, 1979 as her successful campaign for Prime Minister was coming to a conclusion. Prime Minister Thatcher was a (perhaps the) leading politician along with Ronald Reagan (the “second most important man” in her life) in the battle against old-line state ownership socialism.

She was born to church going devout Methodist parents in 1925. During her early years, Ms. Thatcher learned the virtues of hard work, thrift and self-help. These virtues never left her side as she fought to bring Britain back from the “British Disease” an economic malady founded on state run enterprise. Approximately 20% of Britain’s assets were state owned. Prime Minster Thatcher accomplished the privatization of much of Britain’s state owned enterprises. As a child she also learned the virtue of perseverance. Perseverance was clearly evident when she said: “The lady’s not for turning” in the face of extremely high unemployment which was a result of her anti-inflation monetary policies.

On May 21, 1988, Thatcher gave a speech at the opening of the General assembly of the Church of Scotland. It is a masterpiece. She said:

“We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. “If a man will not work he shall not eat” wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.

Nevertheless, the Tenth Commandment—Thou shalt not covet—recognises that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists and craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth? And remember the woman with the alabaster jar of ointment.”

Prime Minister Thatcher’s handbag seemed omnipresent. It is said that one piece of the contents was old newsprint with these lines From Abraham Lincoln:

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.”

Lincoln’s words were Margaret Thatcher’s words to live by. Another part of the contents of the handbag was at one time Frederick Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty. The story goes that Prime Minister Thatcher slammed her copy of Hayek’s work on the table and said “This is what we believe”.

Freedom lost a true ally with the passing of the “Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher.

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