Today on Uncommon Knowledge, Claire Berlinski, journalist and author of There is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters distills the Iron Lady’s beliefs into its compelling fundamentals.
The single most important thing to understand about Thatcherism is that it’s not just free market economics. It’s a belief about the redeeming moral value of freedom. She believed this moral insight should apply to economic life as it should to every other aspect of human life. Thatcher made the moral case for economic freedom more powerfully than any politician before or since.
She argued that man is an economic being who makes myriad economic choices over the course of his day. To the degree that you take away his ability to choose, you’re taking away his moral agency. You’re taking away his free will, which is how we distinguish a moral being from, say, this coffee cup. And it is really important to understand that this came from a religious way of looking at mankind–humans, she believed, have fallen and have to make choices between good and evil.
Thatcher’s view is a moral one, not just a technocratic one—you have to grasp that.. She wanted the British people to be self-reliant, strong, productive, moral citizens. And she felt that Socialism was absolutely incompatible with that.