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Monday, April 8, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: A Great Briton, A Great World Leader, A Great Lady


Margaret Thatcher, one of history's great champions of freedom, paid the most eloquent tribute to her partner on the world stage, Ronald Reagan, when he died in 2004.  So much of what Margaret Thatcher saw in President Reagan -- love of freedom, courage, strength of character, commitment to principle and perseverance against great odds -- was mirrored in herself.  

Over the past six years we have often written and posted commentary about this providential figure, and those articles can be seen here.  But on this day of loss, we would encourage you to listen again to her moving tribute to President Reagan.  It says everything important about Ronald Reagan and his great friend, eulogist and partner in the building of a better world.  

"Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."
 




Baroness Thatcher, who has died aged 87 from a stroke, was not only Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, she was also the outstanding peacetime leader of the 20th century.
For more than a decade Margaret Thatcher enjoyed almost unchallenged political mastery, winning three successive general elections. The policies she pursued with ferocious energy and unyielding will resulted in a transformation of Britain’s economic performance.

The resulting change was also political. But by discrediting socialism so thoroughly, she prompted in due course the adoption by the Labour Party of free market economics, and so, as she wryly confessed in later years, “helped to make it electable”.


As for the effects of the Thatcher phenomenon upon British society, these were both more ambiguous and more debatable. Her remark “there is no such thing as society” was wrenched altogether out of the context of the interview in which it was made, and made to seem to be an advocacy of naked individualism, when she was really calling for more personal responsibility. Yet, rightly or wrongly, the 1980s came to be seen as a time of social fragmentation whose consequences are still with us.
Margaret Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply. Monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade — all these features of the modern globalised economy were crucially promoted as a result of the policy prescriptions she employed to reverse Britain’s economic decline.

Above all, in America and in Eastern Europe she was regarded, alongside her friend Ronald Reagan, as one of the two great architects of the West’s victory in the Cold War. Of modern British prime ministers, only Margaret Thatcher’s girlhood hero, Winston Churchill, acquired a higher international reputation.




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