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April 08. 2013 7:45PM

R.I.P., Margaret Thatcher: We all owe 'The Iron Lady'


Baroness Margaret Thatcher poses with a copy of her new book at a launch attended by members of the British-American Chamber of Commerce in this November 25, 1997 file photo. Thatcher has died following a stroke, a spokesman for the family said. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files)

Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday at age 87, was strength of character personified. When she rose to prominence, and then power, in the 1960s and '70s, socialism was ascendant in Britain, and the free-market, limited government ideas she championed were deeply out of fashion. Liberals were thrilled that a mere "suburban housewife" with a shrill voice and unpopular ideas rose to lead her party. They were not happy for long.

Thatcher worked harder, planned better and argued more persuasively than anyone on either side. She was every bit "The Iron Lady," a nickname given her by the Soviet army newspaper "Red Star" in 1976. Thatcher led the party of Winston Churchill back to power by showing Britain a way out of the financial and cultural pit into which socialism had thrown it. She did not offer the British people socialism with a smiley face. She pledged to overthrow it entirely and give them something better in its place: freedom and prosperity.

That she did. Thatcher saw with uncommon clarity the threat collectivism posed to the West. She pointed out in the 1970s that the further Britain moved away from what she called a "free society," the weaker and less wealthy it became. By the late 1970s, a majority saw that she was right, and the freedoms she succeeded in restoring in the 1980s made Britain once again a strong and prosperous nation.

She fought collectivism bravely, both at home and abroad, and she wounded it gravely. Because of her, millions are freer and wealthier than they otherwise would be, and the apostles of forced collectivization have been on a three-decade retreat. We all owe her a tremendous debt. May she rest in peace.


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