Wednesday 17 April 2013

Be Kind

On a day like this, I can only republish this from Anonymong. I think it is perfect.

Responding to the above Facebook meme (click to enlarge), he had this to say.
As a protest against Margaret Thatcher this one is so misguided that it’s actually awesome, as they’re proposing to prove her very point by acting as individuals to the betterment of other individuals. The problem is of course that her “no such thing as society” quote is always taken so far out of context as to hardly count as a quote. the oh so often quoted line is of course: 
“There is no such thing as society.” 
But the more complete quote is: 
“There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.” 
Which is rather saying something completely different to what her detractors would like to think. If they didn't claim on the image that Mrs Thatcher didn't believe in society, I can think of no better tribute to her than large numbers of people turning round and by their own efforts helping others. For those that are interested a fuller transcript can be found here.
Isn't this much-shared new sentiment from the left precisely what we libertarians have been advocating for years?

Some believe that top-down state bureaucracy is the only way to solve any problem - the kneejerk 'what is the government going to do about this' response. We, however, have always thought that mentality to be a gross insult to the general public and damaging to society as a whole. I believe that individuals are perfectly capable of organising themselves better than government ever can, and to say otherwise exhibits a dislike and distrust of people in general.

On a day like this, I can think of no better tribute to Baroness Thatcher than the left joining the "living tapestry of men and women" in order to "help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate".

Long live today's new consensus.

PS Being in transport, I forgive people who cut me up every day. It's really not difficult.


Jon Davies said...

It does surprise me how this is quoted our of context so much. Each individual taking responsibility for themselves and others does seem a better approach than the alternative "nanny" state.

Sam Duncan said...

Heh. It wasn't until I got to the bit in bold that I realised it was supposed to be a protest. They just don't get it, do they?

I have to say, though, that her greatest failure was not communicating properly the Hayekian idea of society and economy as emergent properties of human interaction, and the moral imperative of individual liberty that flows from that idea. She'd already allowed her opponents to portray her policies as “antisocial” long before the “no such thing” interview. It was an attempt to do redress the balance, but while it was misquoted, she should have known it would be. Saying that, even with an explanation, to socialists - societal creationists - is like saying “there's no God” to a Christian.

John Winter said...

re: JD - a better alternative to the nanny state:
The massive state and massive taxes (or debt) gives politicians power, including that of patronage.
And as the common observation that "Politicians are all the same" is true, because the current lot (the 3 major parties especially) want power for powers sake. Whereas Mrs T wanted power because she had a vision to change the country for the better, and even accepting she made a huge amounts of mistakes along the way, she achieved that goal of improving the lot of the average man and woman.
And the British people recognise and respect that.

Tony said...

I'm just so glad this charade is all over, I have been avoiding the BBC like the plague until this funeral is out of the way. I am hoping we can leave people like Gideon Osbourne with his crocodile tears behind and move on.

God only know how insane the media coverage is going to be when the Queen or Phil the Greek dies (if they ever do.)

scorpy66 said...

A sad note on this from Frank Field in today's Times: "Some time after Margaret Thatcher had been deposed by her own backbenchers she told me about the greatest disappointment of her time in office. “I cut taxes as I thought it would generate a giving society. It didn’t.”"