It could’ve been the start of a joke: an actor from Hollywood, a Polish priest, and a British lady got together… Instead, it was the start of freedom’s greatest story. With well-explained principles, well-executed ideas, and an unflagging belief in the human spirit, this trio peacefully ended the Cold War and brought freedom to millions.
Each added unique and complementary qualities to the group—kind of like the X-Men—creating an undefeatable force. Pope John Paul II possessed quiet grace and Christ-like dedication to the less fortunate, Ronald Reagan sunny optimism and compelling leadership, and the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, bold tenacity and intrepid force. (Imagine the dinner party they’ll have in Heaven tonight!)
They understood, and made it a popularly accepted truth, that freedom leads to prosperity because it allows human ingenuity, creativity, and aspiration—the human spirit—to thrive. In light of this, they argued, government’s sole responsibility in the freedom-prosperity equation is to protect and defend freedom; not to provide freedom, God does that, and not to create prosperity, people do that. In performing its role, government must treat people equally, not make them equal, as the current inhabitant of the White House would like to do.
Thatcher said, “We are all unequal. No one, thank heavens, is like anyone else, however much the Socialists may pretend otherwise. We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important… Everyone must be allowed to develop the abilities he knows he has within him, and she knows she has within her, in the way they choose.”
Thatcher and Reagan eloquently explained the virtues of conservatism and the perils of liberalism/collectivism/socialism/communism. Given the clear, obvious distinction, voters in both countries chose the conservative vision again and again.
Thatcher could delightfully dissect her opponents’ demagoguery with a clear-sighted wit. Take for example this 1990 exchange between Margaret Thatcher and Simon Hughes, a Labour Party MP:
HUGHES: There is no doubt that the Prime Minister, in many ways, has achieved substantial success. There is one statistic, however, that I understand is not challenged, and that is that, during her 11 years as Prime Minister, the gap between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% in this country has widened substantially. At the end of her chapter of British politics, how can she say that she can justify the fact that many people in a constituency such as mine are relatively much poorer, much less well housed and much less well provided for than they were in 1979? Surely she accepts that that is not a record that she or any Prime Minister can be proud of.
THATCHER: People on all levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. The hon. Gentleman is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That way one will never create the wealth for better social services, as we have. What a policy. Yes, he would rather have the poor poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That is the Liberal policy.
I mourn her loss and I mourn the current absence of a conservative champion like her on the world stage. Thankfully, with the nonstop coverage of her death and the many tributes to her, the Iron Lady can take one final swipe at the Left. President Obama has argued for months that the rich must pay their “fair share” and the government must spend more, but today, millions will be reminded over and over again that, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Thank you Margaret Thatcher. The world is a better, freer place for your efforts. Farewell, Iron Lady.