April 8, 2013 2 Comments
Margaret Thatcher is dead today at the age of 87. Like with all people, especially public figures, I hope that she knew Jesus Christ before she died. Otherwise she will not be resting in any peace. Having said that, in remembering her life she is the most important British Prime Minister since Churchill. She lead Britain during the economically prosperous 80′s in much the same way as Ronald Reagan did here in the United States. Nick named the Iron Lady, she stood up for conservative principles and battled communists and assorted left-wing fascists the world over. (think the Falkland Islands)
Thatcher teamed with Ronald Reagan to actively oppose Communism. When she took control of the British government in 1979 the Soviet Union was still in existence and eastern Europe was still enslaved behind the iron curtain. Thatcher joined with Reagan in engaging the Soviets and while Reagan was ultimately responsible for bringing the Soviet Union to its knees, Thatcher was right behind him. But for Reagan and Thatcher, the Soviet Union would still exist and eastern Europe would still be in communist slavery. It was only because of the support of Reagan and Thatcher that gave the people of the east hope. Without American and British support, the people of eastern Europe would never have risen up against their communist overlords.
For those of us in the conservative movement, Thatcher’s passing is almost as significant as Reagan’s was. Obviously for our British conservative friends the two will be flip flopped. Thatcher was important for the conservative movement because she paved the way for Reagan. She began Britain’s economic turnaround before Reagan came to office. She cut taxes and paved the way for prosperity for her country in the 80′s and 90′s. Like with Reagan, she could have cut government more and it’s unfortunate that she didn’t. But what she and Reagan did was give a voice to the conservative majorities in both countries. They put conservative principles into action and it led to prosperity.
Both Britain and the US could stand for a little dose of Thatcher these days. Big government liberalism hasn’t led to prosperity. It’s only led to prolonged recession. Most Britain’s cannot look back and say that in economic terms they are better off today than in the 80′s. We Americans could say the same thing. Thatcher cut taxes and in doing so she unleashed prosperity for over a decade. She championed freedom and free markets both in her nation and around the world. The world is better off, at least in terms of freedom, than it was before she took office.
Thatcher’s death is an end of an era for the conservative movement. We in the US have already tried to move on from Reagan. It appears we have a number of conservatives who could adequately take his place on the national stage. No doubt there are conservatives in Britain capable of continuing forward with Thatcher’s conservative outlook. The era of the conservative return to power may be over but the torch is being carried on. We would be wise to renew our interest in the conservative principles of Thatcher and Reagan and apply them to the world we face today. Rather than looking for the next Thatcher or Reagan, which we will never be able to do, we must look to their conservative principles. Thatcher’s death perhaps gives us the opportunity to do so while we remember her extraordinary live.