AEI President Arthur Brooks on Margaret Thatcher's Legacy

AEI President Arthur Brooks issued the following statement today on the passing of Margaret Thatcher:

Margaret Thatcher’s passing at the age of 87 is a great loss for Britain and for freedom. Lady Thatcher played a pivotal role not just in reversing Britain’s post-war economic stagnation, but as a powerful and articulate voice for human liberty and free enterprise around the world.

As the daughter of a Linconshire grocer, Mrs. Thatcher saw first-hand how building a business was about more than money; it was an act of faith and a labor of love. She also saw how public policies could stifle entrepreneurship, and how government failure was as pernicious a threat as market failure. Her government came to power in 1979 on the heels of the inability of the Labour government to control either inflation or public employee unions, to the point where garbage was going uncollected and human corpses were stacking up as gravediggers went on strike.

Perhaps most admirably, Mrs. Thatcher’s 11 years as prime minister were rooted in a commitment to ideas, not political expediency. One great story illustrates this: In 1975, as the newly elected Tory leader, Mrs. Thatcher interrupted a speaker urging the Conservatives to take a “middle way” on a variety of policy issues. She pulled a copy of Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty” from her briefcase and slammed it on the table, exclaiming, “This is what we believe!” As I wrote recently in the journal “National Affairs,” Hayek’s examination of the role of government in “The Constitution of Liberty” is something conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic would do well to remember today.

Mrs. Thatcher was a political pugilist, but she fought for the ideas of freedom and human liberty. She had a preternatural understanding of how to make the moral case for free enterprise — and why a big and growing state threatened both entrepreneurship and human virtue.

For media inquiries please contact 202.862.5829 or [email protected]

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Arthur C.
Brooks

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.