Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher

I just started reading Margaret Thatcher: The Downing Street Years. First of all, this autobiography comes from a simply amazing individual. Thatcher's precise writing articulates a clarity of vision rarely seen in politics, but certainly shared by some of her contemporaries. It cannot be just coincidence that great visionary leaders such as this Prime Minister, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Chancellor Helmuth Kohl brought their principles and courage together to save democracy and peacefully annihilate the Soviet Empire.

The introduction of Thatcher's book strikes me as unnerving though. She describes the sharp decline suffered by Great Britain after World War II. Certainly some of that came from Franklin Roosevelt's rather predatory policies towards Britain during World War II, but most of the blame lies with the British themselves. Simply put, they lost faith in capitalism and succumbed to the utopian dreams of the Left. Will our country follow the same path despite the fact that we have enjoyed our most productive twenty-five years in history?

The welfare state bloated to the point where 30% of the British people worked for the government in some form. Heavy taxation destroyed what was in the early 1900s one of the most dynamic economies on earth. The taxes passed after World War II were very similar to the ruin that Barack Obama promises our entrepreneurial class. Government regulation forced the supposedly free market into following policies planned out by the government. By 1979 strikes paralyzed the economy and the dead even lay unburied. Such was the success of Eurosocialism in Britain.

Thatcher spoke of the Soviet Union in an interesting way. She claimed that they imposed upon themselves economic backwardness and as a result lost power. What a fascinating observation. Self-imposed backwardness is not inherent only to totalitarian regimes. Look at the current United States where we risk our economy and national security because environmentalists will not let us develop a few thousand acres out of the many millions that compose ANWAR. At least the Soviets held themselves hostage to an ideal, as mistaken as it was, it was an ideal. We hold ourselves hostage to reindeer.

She had some interesting points to make about Jimmy Carter. Thatcher said he was a likeable man with good intentions. Carter's windfall profits tax on the oil industry, passed during an OPEC price hike, caused shortages and lines at the gas pumps. He was accountable to a Democratic Party that sought to minimize as much as possible the threat posed by the USSR. In other words, Carter was in over his head. How similar was Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama? The main difference lies in the fact that Obama is beholden to anti-American moneymen such as George Soros. The scary thing about the modern day Carter is that Obama's supporters think American weakness is good for the world. Why else would they continue to oppose reforms that would strengthen our economy? Like Carter, Obama merely says that we must get used to a lower standard of living. Luckily, Carter begat Reagan and America was saved before it was too late.

The road towards a bright future runs through the Republican Party. It can only happen if Republicans and Democrats that believe in free market economics and a strong America band together to continue working towards less government and more opportunity. This takes the kind of courage shown by people willing to take criticism and even hatred. Republicans remain respected over time when they put principle in front of popularity, just like Margaret Thatcher.

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