I am reminded of this from my reading of an article yesterday by Nile Gardiner, a former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980's and currently the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom of the Heritage Foundation. The "Iron Lady" as she was fondly called was as good a friend as America ever had and in conjunction with Ronald Reagan worked tirelessly for freedom and liberty for both countries and the world. She and Reagan were truly my political heroes of the time and are sorely missed today.
Reading Gardiner's article, I found it enlightening to learn just what some of her favorite books were. They included "The Road to Serfdom" by Frederick Hayek, "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith, "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill and anything written by the great Sir Winston Churchill. Much of her spunk and strength in standing up for what she thought was right came from Churchill and her father. Remember, Sir Winston stood strong for the UK at a time when her very existence was in doubt during the Hitler blitzkrieg, yet he toiled on and held his people together while working tirelessly to gain help from America. And then later, after the war years, he was called back to serve his country for four more years in the early 1950's.
With regard to her upbringing and her father, I was surprised to find out that he, a hardworking grocer, was also a Methodist lay minister. This would largely explain Mrs. Thatcher's devotion to freedom and capitalism. Her dad knew the importance of saving and using money wisely and Methodism instilled the very essence of the church's British founder, John Wesley. Wesley's three points for success and salvation involved doing no harm, doing as much good as you possible can and always staying in love with the Lord. And Wesley's Methodism also taught her the importance of taking the message to the common man, for much of his ministry was conducted in an evangelistic style.
Now Wesley's admonition against doing harm didn't mean you can't defend yourself from tyranny but, rather, your work effort and general life foundation should be based on helping others and by defending liberty freedom you are doing just that. And Maggie Thatcher was very good at it, for even when dealing with a mortal foe, she was willing to try and work things out but always by using an approach that she and President Reagan shared: trust but verify. Her support for Reagan and their respect for one another had a lot to do with the end of the Cold War, for she was a die hard defender of democratic principles and free markets.
Ronald Reagan could sometimes be very impulsive and it was at those times his counsel from Mrs. Thatcher became so important. She had a way of calming him, of tempering him, that resulted in unbelievably effective results and his great respect for her. I don't think there have ever been two strong leaders of Western countries that ever complemented each other so well. Oh, how I wish they were back in the saddle today.
I think it's also important to realize just what obstacles Maggie overcome to reach the position of power that she handled so well. When she was elected to Parliament in somewhat of a surprise, the old line Conservatives in that great deliberative body saw her as a threat to their power base and influence. Yet, Mrs. Thatcher, being a great communicator like Reagan, took her message to the people, in the tradition of Wesley's street preaching, and the result was her rise to the highest political office in her nation.
Nile Gardiner has teamed with Stephen Thompson to write "Margaret Thatcher on Leadership; Lessons for American Conservatives Today". A great addition to any political library and an inspiration to American Conservatives who want to take their country back, it is available from Barnes and Noble.
So I say hear, hear to Maggie Thatcher, a wonderful leader and inspiration to those of us who truly love freedom, individualism and capitalism. May her memory ever live on as an inspiration to us for keeping the faith alive. And may God bless her soul. Deep down in my heart I think that she and Ronnie still get together and talk about their days on earth. It must be quite an occasion. Thank you both for all that you did. We miss you both.