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The Baroness Margaret Thatcher, a mere grocer’s daughter, and Barack Obama

April 8, 2013

As the head of the American oligarchy, Barack Obama regally conveyed his very warmest condolences today to the British Nobility who mourns the passing of the Baroness Margaret Thatcher.  While a statement of condolence on strictly humanitarian grounds is certainly appropriate, I find Obama’s flowery tone disgusting in light of the fact that the British, American, and global working majority had few enemies more powerful.

Let’s briefly recall her career before passing on to Obama’s adoring remarks.  Thatcher made a name for herself early on by bravely slashing milk subsidies for young children and becoming thus known as “Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”.  An avid follower of Hayek, she was the public face of the British movement against the Keynesian and welfare state which had advanced median incomes to their highest historical levels.

Like her compatriot Ronald Reagan, Thatcher drastically lowered taxes on income, reduced social spending, privatized public services, and deregulated the financial sector.  She instituted the hated per capita poll tax which led to riots and an eventual reversal by her successor.  The Baroness sought to destroy the labor unions and was quite successful in that endeavor.

Her fight for the powerful was carried on internationally as well: she opposed sanctions against apartheid South Africa, supported the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, sought the release of Pinochet, supported the British and US invasion of Iraq, and so on.

Her legacy was much like that of Reagan, aptly summed up by Baron Geoffrey Howe:

“Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible.”

And what exactly is the philosophy of Thatcherism?  Let’s go to the Iron Lady herself:

“…who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.”

Thatherism is simply neoliberal capitalism, nothing more, nothing less.  And Thatcherism lives quite strongly in the Obama White House.  Taking a few moments from his efforts to slash social security, our man of Hope and Change offered these adoring words on his intellectual parent:

With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend….As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered…. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best…. Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.

Linking Thatcher with freedom and liberty is odious and clearly demonstrates the fundamentally hierarchical class-based ideology of Obama and the Democratic Party. It’s not just the praise of Thatcher along with the use of her aristocratic title though which is objectionable.  It’s the acceptance, indeed praise, of a grossly unequal system of hierarchy.  Obama trumpets the fact that a mere grocer’s daughter can rise to the top, proof he says there’s “no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered”.  The world view incorporated here is one that sees a hierarchical pecking order of occupations, one in which the grocer ranks lowly.  Inequality of position is perfectly acceptable as long as those with “merit” can rise to their proper station.  Regardless of whether the high position is due to “merit” or birth or money, though, the hierarchy of inequality remains and the grocer and similarly low positions struggle while those at the top glory in their freedom.  We’ve replaced noble birth with “merit”, but all else remains the same and the world of barons continues on.

  1. Vincent permalink

    Two of the most politically divisive quotes from that era are Regan’s,” In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”, and Thatcher’s TINA, “There is no alternative.”

    And speaking of Reagan, can’t this President quote someone else for a change? FDR would be a good start.

  2. So right Vincent. Obama seems far more at home with Reagan / Thatcher. Has he ever quoted FDR? Within our political system, Thatcher’s words still haunt us: TINA.

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