Monday, April 8, 2013

The Iron Lady Leaves Us ... J. D. Longstreet

The Iron Lady Leaves Us

Margaret Thatcher Dies
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, has passed away leaving a vast void in the ranks of conservatives the world over.

Margaret Thatcher's political career has been one of the most remarkable of modern times. Born in October 1925 at Grantham, a small market town in eastern England, she rose to become the first (and for two decades the only) woman to lead a major Western democracy. She won three successive General Elections and served as British Prime Minister for more than eleven years (1979-90), a record unmatched in the twentieth century. 

During her term of office she reshaped almost every aspect of British politics, reviving the economy, reforming outdated institutions, and reinvigorating the nation's foreign policy. She challenged and did much to overturn the psychology of decline which had become rooted in Britain since the Second World War, pursuing national recovery with striking energy and determination.

In the process, Margaret Thatcher became one of the founders, with Ronald Reagan, of a school of conservative conviction politics, which has had a powerful and enduring impact on politics in Britain and the United States and earned her a higher international profile than any British politician since Winston Churchill.

Had Margaret Thatcher been born American and had she become a candidate for President of the United States, I would have supported her and voted for her.  She was a conservative.

Working closely with President Ronald Reagan,  the Iron Lady welded our two countries together as one. 

Her influence spread around the world.  Her plain spoken opinions made even the mighty squirm at times.  With Thatcher at 10 Downing Street the world never had to wonder where England stood.   

Her influence on US President George H. W. Bush was invaluable at times during his term in office.

Thatcher hated socialism.  She saw it for what it is and she loathed it.  Back in 1976 she said:  "Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them." Speech, Feb. 5, 1976

She once said:  "Socialists cry "Power to the people", and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over people, power to the State."

She didn't much care for socialized medicine either.  She had her own private health insurance.  When asked about that in a TV interview she said: "I, along with something like 5 million other people, insure to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want. "

On socialism's effect on Great Britain, Baroness Thatcher said this:  "No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect. Far from reversing the slow relative decline of Britain vis-à-vis its main industrial competitors, it accelerated it. We fell further behind them, until by 1979 we were widely dismissed as 'the sick man of Europe'...To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches."

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Thatcher:  "I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain." That was from a speech she made on Feb. 8, 1984.

Compare Thatcher's philosophy against that of the current President of the US and you will quickly see why America is in such deep trouble.  Thatcher had her priorities in the proper order. 

Obama wants to rid the world of Nuclear weapons.  Thatcher understood the need for nuclear arsenals.  She said this: "A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defense on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us."   She made those remarks in a speech at a Soviet Official banquet, St George's Halls, the Kremlin (30 March 1987).  Thatcher had the courage of her convictions.

In her book  Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-095912-6,  she laid out a list of guidelines that speak volumes about her and the way she governed.  She wrote:  "I should therefore prefer to restrict my guidelines to the following:

Don't believe that military interventions, no matter how morally justified, can succeed without clear military goals
Don't fall into the trap of imagining that the West can remake societies
Don't take public opinion for granted -- but don't either underrate the degree to which good people will endure sacrifices for a worthwhile cause
Don't allow tyrants and aggressors to get away with it

And when you fight -- fight to win.

(You will find these guidelines on page 39 of the book.)

Can you see why I would have great admiration for this great lady? 

May God grant her eternal rest. 

J. D. Longstreet

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