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Posts Tagged ‘Principles’

A Tribute to Margaret Thatcher

In 13 History on 2013/08/23 at 12:00 AM

 

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Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

The following is adapted from remarks delivered at a ceremony in honor of Margaret Thatcher sponsored by the Hillsdale chapter of Young Americans for Freedom on April 22, 2013.

Margaret Thatcher was born in 1925, in October. Her father was a grocer. She was born in Lincolnshire, in the middle of England. She studied chemistry at Oxford. In 1959 she got elected to Parliament for Finchley, which she represented until she retired from the House of Commons in 1992. She’s one of the great prime ministers in British history, and one of the longest serving, at least in continuous times.

I happened to live in England when Mrs. Thatcher’s party won the 1979 election and she became prime minister— the first woman to do so. It was better than watching sports on television. There was nothing like it. Every day she would do something big, and every day she would not apologize for it, even when reporters would press her. You just never saw anyone so direct or clear of speech.

Mrs. Thatcher faced a situation in Britain that was devastating, much like the situation we have today in our own country. What she did was to make plain that situation and to place great faith in the people of her country, and then when they were asked to choose, they chose for her over and over again. Indeed, she never lost an election after she won the first one. She only lost her job as prime minister because her party got tired of her. They were not as strong as she was and they threw her out, and she left very nobly.

I’ll tell you two quick stories about her. The first concerns a coal strike led by a very left wing man named Arthur Scargill, who was the head of the coal miners union. That union was powerful because people got their heat from coal, and if the union didn’t mine coal in the winter, people got cold.

The major political party opposed to Mrs. Thatcher’s Conservative party, the Labor party, was basically controlled at that time in its governing structure by the labor unions, and the worst and most aggressive of them was the coal miners. So the Prime Minister stood largely alone, and great powers were arrayed against her. And what she did was store up a bunch of coal to get ready for a strike because she knew Mr. Scargill was going to call one, and he did call one. The coal mining regions of the country had thousands of people picketing, and parts of the country basically ceased to function.

This had happened many times in the past, and the government had capitulated. But this time there was Mrs. Thatcher at the head of the government, and there was something called the Battle of Orgreave, in which five thousand miners clashed with five thousand policemen. The policemen triumphed, and there were over 100 casualties. That was a battle for the soul of the country, and the Prime Minister was very clear about it. She explained that the stakes were enormous and that the government was going to stand up for the country. There was no wiggle in her. She didn’t budge. And what happened was that a large part of the membership of the miners union broke off, formed their own union, and made a deal that was in their interest but was not what Scargill had demanded. So Mrs. Thatcher basically broke that strike, and she broke that kind of unionism. The other kind—the kind where people act under laws that are fair, and where unions don’t take over parts of the country or the property of others—that kind of unionism thrives in Britain today. And so far there has not been an effort to bring back  the destructive kind.

My second story concerns terrorism. You probably know that Mrs. Thatcher was almost killed when IRA terrorists put a bomb in her hotel during the annual Conservative Party Conference in 1984. They checked into that hotel months in advance and planted an explosive device set to go off near where the Prime Minister slept. It did go off, and it killed five people, but Mrs. Thatcher was working late and her life was spared.

IRA terrorists had previously killed one of her best friends, a man named Airey Neave, a distinguished soldier in World War II and one of the few men to escape the German POW camp at Colditz. He was very close to Mrs. Thatcher, and he was the Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland. Shortly before she became prime minister, the terrorists placed a bomb in Neave’s car set to explode when the car was at a certain angle coming out of the parking lot underneath the House of Commons, and Airey Neave was killed, having survived the Nazis.

So Margaret Thatcher had strong reasons to oppose terrorism. And when it happened that several IRA terrorists, the key one being a man named Bobby Sands, went on a hunger strike in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland—they were demanding to be classified as political prisoners rather than as criminals—she stood firm as they starved themselves to death. Over and over, she stated her position forthrightly: “Crime is crime is crime. It is not political. It is crime.” And what that meant was that those terrorists had chosen the wrong time to go on a hunger strike.

I’ll tell you what I think all that means. I’ve thought about this most of my adult life, and much of what I think about it is informed by having watched Mrs. Thatcher. We live in an age when a new kind of government has been invented, and it’s not so much that it has different aims, although it does have many different aims, but that it proceeds by a different method—through rules made by so-called experts, who gather the forces of government over themselves.

There’s an agency that has been created recently in the United States, and that agency does not get its budget from the Congress of the United States, but from a percentage of the revenues of the Federal Reserve, which gets its revenues as a government monopoly bank. This new agency has regulatory power that may affect us as a college and will certainly affect each of us as individuals. And Congress is forbidden to hold hearings on the budget of that agency, and that agency routinely refuses inquiries from Congress about its operations. That means it is sealed off from popular control. And the weight and scale of the government run by this new method means that there’s some chance that the government is going to overwhelm the society. That is the very abnegation of liberal politics—liberal in the sense of a free people managing those who govern them because human beings are born equal, with equal rights.

The greatest defender and servant of this principle of liberal government that I have seen in my lifetime is Margaret Thatcher, and I pray that we will see the likes of her again, because the battle over this kind of government is upon us again. For making clear that the right way of government is to operate under a constitution, and under the control of free people, and for fighting for constitutionalism more effectively than anyone in our time, we today remember Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.


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Contemporary Mischief

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/05/31 at 12:00 AM

In previous essays, I have expressed my belief that the United States is a Godless nation, at least in practice, and as a consequence of the rejection of God, is the fact that we have lost the power of rational thinking in non-physical matters. We no longer think and react according to fixed principles; every problem is seen as an isolated factor with no reference to anything that happened before or might happen afterwards. The result is that whichever side shouts the loudest or is favored by the media is heard while the other side (which may have the more valid arguments) is drowned out. Thus it is that the Democrats can do no wrong, and the Republicans can do no right. We are no longer guided by objective truth, only by subjective opinion of the loudest because God, who is the standard of truth, is considered irrelevant to human life.

A consequence of this is that a certain complacency in the presence of contradiction sets in. We attempt to claim the opposite ideas are equally valid. The least important groups in the society are deemed most important. The most productive are denigrated, ridiculed, and falsely accused of  greed, price-gouging etc. The problem is that this attitude is applied to an entire class of people, many of whom are not guilty of such charges. Those whose efforts and hard work have resulted in the acquisition of wealth, even a large amount of wealth, are called thieves simply because they have acquired more than a person whose talents and effort were less; the rich owe the poor.  There are many people wealthier than I am, but I do not assume they owe me a dime.  As a result of this demagoguery, I see perhaps violent class warfare in our future instigated by those who have believed that if A has $100 and you have $50, A owes you $25 so you will both be equal. Because we are no longer thinking rationally, many fall for this  nonsense and might someday act accordingly.

To cover for the lack of clear thinking, we are told that we must be tolerant of the ideas (stupid or otherwise) of others. Tolerance is the watchword. Don’t offend anyone by pointing out his errors in thinking; after all,  “Who are you to judge anyone?” Thus, contradictions and other nonsense flows unabated through society rendering us more and more irrational as time goes on.

However, it seems that those who wave the tolerance flag the most are most intolerant of any ideas they do not like. Atheists, ignoring the fact that most Americans have at least some religious bent, demand that they be satisfied in their whims, even at the expense of the vast majority. They even demand that no one be allowed to pray silently at a public event. We are all familiar with their drive against Nativity scenes at Christmas or crosses on memorials.

Practicing homosexuals demand that they be given whatever social status they demand, but let anyone say a word in opposition, and the whole weight of the homosexual movement comes down on them.  Two homosexuals at George Washington University demand that the Catholic chaplain of the Newman Club be kicked off the campus and that the organization be defunded because the priest had the audacity to discuss principles of Catholicism regarding homosexuality. For these types, free speech is fine, but only if they approve of what you are saying.

Another example of the subjective thinking passing for wisdom is in the matter of gun control. Guns are certainly a convenient method of murder (they are also a convenient way to keep from being murdered), but many things can be used as murder weapons, for example, blades of any kind, fire, poison, hands, etc.   Why not control all these too?  To suggest it would be ludicrous. You simply cannot banish whatever could be used a weapon. The problem is the failure to realize that weapons have never killed anyone; the one wielding the weapon is the killer, whereas the weapon is only a means.  Those who oppose sweeping controls as unnecessary and unworkable are ridiculed and practically called  conspirators in the murder rate.

Another prominent sign of our intellectual poverty is the insane cry to allow homosexuals to “marry”. A contradiction in terms. The latest poll (if honest) claims that 49% of Americans favor same-sex marriage.  According to Bill O’Reilly, those opposed to same-sex marriage have not  made a “compelling argument” against it. Actually they have…many times, but they have been drowned out by the media which supports this joke, and the homosexual lobby  which is politically and financially “well-heeled”. This is what happens in a society in which opinion becomes “truth”.

Because we have rejected God and His creation, the fact that He established heterosexual marriage as the model and the means to perpetuate the human race is ignored. The first command in the Bible is to increase and multiply. Same-sex “marriage” cannot do this, but what does this guy, God, know?!  I fully realize that many heterosexual marriages are not successful, but that is not the fault of marriage as such, but of those who marry with faulty ideas about it. But, again, when we reject objective truth,  we will be offered silly ideas that are pushed and pushed until half the population agrees with them.  After all, if there are no objective truths, there can be no  errors; and if no errors, anything becomes “true”.

Follow the idea that the concept of marriage can be changed according to cultural passing fads and you come to some  interesting results, because if marriage is based merely on human manipulation, then we would have to allow “marriage” between relatives, animals,  and anything else that whims can think of. One woman in England wanted to marry herself. Why not?  It’s logical according to the new theory.

One argument in favor of same-sex “marriage” is that it is a matter of civil rights. This phrase has become one of those words or phrases that is used when one’s arguments are not going to work. How many times has “racist” been used to cut off opposition to false arguments. Call someone a racist, and he ends up defending himself against a lie, while the opponents faulty argument is assumed to be true because the opponent is a “racist’.

Another of these words currently in use to stop opponents is “homophobe”. It works the same way. This means that because I oppose same-sex marriage, I must be a homophobe and therefore, not worth listening to, which means my arguments are not worth anything either.

Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. Too long have we claimed that merely wanting something makes it a civil right. No one can have a civil right to oppose divine law; another example of the distorted “thinking” of a Godless society.

To some, same-sex marriage is a matter of love, and anyone “in love” should be able to marry. “Love” is one of the most misused words in the English language. It is used to express mere like, “I love ice cream.” It is used to express preference, “I’d love to see Europe before Asia.” It is used to refer to a hope, “I’d love to have a big family.”  Love is basically a matter of commitment between two people. You really cannot have a true commitment to anything not rational (only to God and humans). Can people have real love for others of the same sex? Of course, but the expression of that love must be rational. What is not rational is to declare that love allows you do the unnatural, such as incest, pedophilia and conjure up a false idea of marriage.

There are those who say they cannot oppose active homosexuality because they have family members involved,  especially children. This is probably the most difficult situation to deal with because it is so personal and involves such naturally close bonds. However, divine law still trumps family bonds, and God has condemned homosexuality several times. If something is condemned, it means it is not part of our nature. God does not condemn what we cannot do anything about. He does not condemn skin color, left-handedness, baldness, birth defects and the like.  Active homosexuality is a behavior; it is not a condition beyond one’s control. In the situation with family members, one cannot and should not stop loving, but one need not condone their activities. Family members would not condone other sexual deviations, so why this one?

The homosexual lobby is well-financed. Peter Lewis, who runs Progressive Insurance, the ubiquitous advertiser on TV, has donated 12 million dollars to homosexual causes. That’s a pile of cash that pro-marriage groups cannot match.  Then too, we have a rather inane expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court has a right to even declare, one way or the other, what is the definition of marriage. We certainly have come a long way on the slippery slope.

Remember this…God and His ways and laws are not affected at all by human rejection. He set up the universe based on His own infinite intelligence. He did not make any mistakes. Modern man thinks He did because modern man prefers divine law more to his liking, and, in his lack of intelligence, decides he can veto the divine Will. God does not change and those who try to reject divine law are in for quite a surprise just after their last breath. To slightly modify a line of Scripture…  ” What does it profit a man if he tries to remake his world to suit himself but causes the loss of his soul?”