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

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Event Registration is Closed
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

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