The Corner

World

Margaret Thatcher vs. “Society”

One of the most misunderstood comments Margaret Thatcher ever made was her comment, “There is no such thing as society.” This is often taken to be a denial that individuals have any obligations to others. In context, what she meant was more nearly the reverse: that we do not emphasize those obligations enough, and use the word “society” in a way that obscures them. Thus people sometimes act as though some abstract “society,” rather than individual taxpayers, pays for government benefits, or blame “society” rather than parents for the abuse and neglect of children. If Thatcher had not been prime minister, it would have been a fine use of aphorism to summarize a point.

It is good of Slate to provide a link to the full transcript of Thatcher’s remarks, if rather less good of it to use it as evidence she was a “sociopath.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More
Culture

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More
White House

Rachel Maddow’s Turnberry Tale

To a certain kind of Rachel Maddow viewer, there are few more titillating preludes to a news segment than the one she delivered Monday: “If you have not seen it yet, you are going to want to sit down.” Maddow’s story began, as many of her stories do, with President Trump, this time focused on his hotel ... Read More