Margaret Thatcher, the so called “Iron Lady,” died on April 8th at the age of 87. The White House released the President’s statement, characterizing Baroness Thatcher as “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty.” (Note: In this instance, being a champion of liberty is a positive attribute). A poll conducted by the Guardian finds a mixed evaluation of various aspects of her legacy. A.C. Grayling (The New York Times), in contrast, sees little nothing to celebrate in Thatcher’s legacy:
The curious feature of Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy is that although she struck an ax-blow deep into the heart of Britain, it is society, not the political sphere, that remains deeply divided by a widening gap between rich and poor.
By contrast, the country’s politics have almost ceased to be ideological, as if exhausted by the Thatcher era. All the main British political parties now strive for the center ground, and the differences between them are about managerial style, not questions of principle.
For those who are interested, Reason has reprinted a 2006 article that Thatcher contributed. It is well worth a few minutes of your time. Here is a brief excerpt:
A system of state control can’t be made good merely because it is run by “clever” people who make the arrogant assertion that they “know best” and that they are serving the “public interest” interest which of course is determined by them. State control is fundamentally bad because it denies people the power to choose and the opportunity to bear responsibility for their own actions.
The Economist notes: “The essence of Thatcherism was to oppose the status quo and bet on freedom…She thought nations could become great only if individuals were set free. Her struggles had a theme: the right of individuals to run their own lives, as free as possible from the micromanagement of the state.”
Margaret Thatcher, RIP