Margaret Thatcher on Socialism

On 3 May 1979 I voted for Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom general election. The next year I emigrated to the United States. The two events were not connected as I very much admire Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom’s and Europe’s first female head of government.

As Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, she earned her nickname the “Iron Lady” with strict conservative policies, a tough stance against trade unions, and militant rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union.

Thatcher emphasized deregulation, flexible labor markets, the end to state ownership of, and subsidies to, companies.

In May 1980, 26 hostages were held by six terrorists in the Iranian embassy. Thatcher’s popularity was boosted six days later when the siege was ended by a successful raid by SAS commandos.

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory. Thatcher authorized an amphibious and ground combat operation to retake the islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and with the British victory came increased support for the Thatcher government.

The Iron Lady spoke often and forcefully against Socialism. Here are a few of my favorites.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Opposition, 18 September 1975

If a Tory does not believe that private property is one of the main bulwarks of individual freedom, then he had better become a socialist and have done with it. (“My Kind of Tory Party”, Daily Telegraph, 30 January 1975)

And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain — and Britain and Socialism are not the same thing. (Conservative Party Conference speech, 10 October 1975)

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. (Interview for Thames TV This Week, 5 February 1976)

I hate extremes of any kind. Communism and the National Front both seek the domination of the state over the individual. They both, I believe crush the right of the individual. To me, therefore, they are parties of a similar kind. All my life I have stood against banning Communism or other extremist organisations because, if you do that, they go underground and it gives them an excitement that they don’t get if they are allowed to pursue their policies openly. We’ll beat them into the ground on argument… The National Front is a Socialist Front. (Hornsey Journal Interview, 21 April 1978)

Socialism’s results have ranged between the merely shabby and the truly catastrophic – poverty, strife, oppression and, on the killing fields of communism, the deaths this century of perhaps 100 million people. Against that doctrine was set a contrary, conservative belief in a law-governed liberty. It was this view which triumphed with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. Since then, the Left has sought rehabilitation by distancing itself from its past. (“Well Done Tony! You’ve Given William His Chance!”, London Daily Telegraph, 1 Oct 1999)

Margaret Thatcher visiting Ronald Reagan at The White House

Visiting Ronald Reagan at The White House, 29 September 1983

The fourth threat to the West is very closely linked to educational failure: it is the systematic attack on the traditional family.

Of course, the family has also been attacked in unsystematic ways. In both our countries, and under parties of both left and right, the effectively unconditional supply of social benefits to those who were thought incapable of coping undermined the incentive to work and provided an alternative and seemingly endless income from government. It thus undercut the family unit. It promoted habits of idleness and delinquency. It permitted single-parenthood to become a financially sustainable, alternative way of life. By undermining the self-respect of so many of the most vulnerable members of society — the respectable poor struggling for decency against the odds — the dependency culture poisoned and weakened society as a whole.

Then on top of all that there has been a full-scale and deliberate assault on the institution of the family itself. The exaltation of violent and explicit sex increasingly coarsens the content of films and books and–eventually and inevitably–life itself. This is not progress. It is not liberation. It is decadence. We conservatives are not, most of us, saints: but even as sinners, we have a duty to fight — as whole-heartedly as our enemies promote — the attack on the family that threatens the West at its foundations. (Speech to the First International Conservative Congress, Washington DC, 28 September 1997)

What we should grasp, however, from the lessons of European history is that, first, there is nothing necessarily benevolent about programmes of European integration; second, the desire to achieve grand utopian plans often poses a grave threat to freedom; and third, European unity has been tried before, and the outcome was far from happy. (Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, p 327)

Margaret Thatcher White House cabinet room talks

White House cabinet room talks, 26 February 1981

The choice facing the nation is between two totally different ways of life. And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark, divisive clouds of Marxist socialism and bring together men and women from all walks of life who share a belief in freedom. (Speech in Perth, Scotland, 13 May 1983)

Socialists cry “Power to the people”, and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean — power over people, power to the State. (Conservative Central Council speech, 15 March 1986)

No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect. Far from reversing the slow relative decline of Britain vis-à-vis its main industrial competitors, it accelerated it. We fell further behind them, until by 1979 we were widely dismissed as “the sick man of Europe”…To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches. (The Downing Street Years)

Gracious…I haven’t paid my bill. Good Conservatives always pay their bills. And on time. Not like the Socialists who run up other people’s bills. (General Election, May 2001)

Margaret Thatcher with George Bush at Aspen press conference

With George Bush at The Catto Ranch, Aspen, 2 August 1990

It is a great night. It is the end of Socialism. (General Election, 9 April 1992, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume Two)

Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in, on freedom’s side of the wall. “You want to keep more of the money you earn? I’m afraid that’s very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can’t have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That’s very divisive. You’ll send your child where we tell you.” (Conservative Party Conference speech, 13 October 1989)

Make no mistake. These communist regimes were not some unfortunate aberration, some historical deviation from a socialist ideal. They were the ultimate expression, unconstrained by democratic and electoral pressures, of what socialism is all about: state ownership at the expense of private property;government control at the expense of individual enterprise; the pursuit of equality at the expense of opportunity for all … in short, the state was everything and the individual nothing. (Speech, Four Seasons Hotel, Washington DC, 8 March 1991)

For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other’s good intentions. (Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, p 50)

Video

These brief exchanges took place during Margaret Thatcher’s last speech in the House of Commons on 22 November 1990.

Sources

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Building a Giant Snowman

I thought it would never snow but overnight we got several inches in Kaysville. Out came the snowman builders to construct a giant snowman. Just build him like a regular snowman but bigger. You may need some help to hoist his head so pay attention to the photographs that follow.

Pass the snow

1. Pass the snow

Compact the snow

2. Compact the snow

Lift his head

3. Lift his head

Secure his head

4. Secure his head

How it is done

5. Use a step ladder

Give him a mouth

6. Give him a mouth

The engineers

The engineers. Dan, Rachel, and Jake

Later in the day our snowman got a nose but lost his buttons.
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I Love to See the Temple

Aurora and Cassandra at the Salt Lake Temple

Aurora and Cassandra in the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple


Last week my granddaughters Aurora and Cassandra went to the wedding of their mother’s cousin Alyse. This photograph was taken in the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple while Alyse and Adam were getting their pictures taken.

1 I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

2 I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.

Photo Credit

“A Place of Love and Beauty” by Ada

Song

“I Love to See the Temple” #95 Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry.
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Happy New Year

Happy New Year
Happy New Year!

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Lesson Learned

Hand through ceiling
Lesson learned on this last day of 2011:

When crawling in the attic don’t lean on the sheetrock!

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Graduate Nerf Wars

Nerf Wars lineup

A friendly photograph before we started shooting each other

 
Rachel graduated with her Bachelors degree in Child & Family Studies and Derek with his M.B.A. To celebrate we ate out, waged Nerf War, and finished with cake. So on Wednesday it was off to Cafe Rio and then to Jake and Rachel’s basement.

We divided into two teams with total annihilation of the opposing team the goal. A player was considered killed when he or she was hit in the head with a Nerf bullet. Each team had LED rings in their team color for identification.

I spent most of my time as a Nerf War correspondent, taking photographs on the front lines. Yes, it was a war out there…

Nerf Wars - Adelaide

Adelaide

Nerf Wars - Aurora

Aurora

Nerf Wars - Dan

Dan

Nerf Wars - Derek

Derek

Nerf Wars - Jake

Jake

Nerf Wars - Jill

Jill

Nerf Wars - Megan

Megan

Nerf Wars - Paul

Paul

Nerf Wars - Rachel

Rachel

Nerf Wars - Steven

Steven

Graduates Rachel and Derek

In the end we all ate a Congratulations Grads cake


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Tracy Aviary in Winter

Tracy AviaryTracy Aviary has free admission (with a $1 conservation contribution) on Winter Wednesdays through February. So I went with my grandson and other family members to see a surprising number of birds for a cold day in December.

I enjoyed seeing Bryson’s reaction to the birds and also taking a few photographs (click to enlarge) of the feathered residents.

A pair of American White Pelicans

American White Pelican
Utah’s largest native bird, the American White Pelican weighs up to 30 lbs with a 9 foot wingspan, and lives around freshwater wetlands and lakes.

These birds do not dive beneath the water for their prey, but instead hunt along the surface in groups, herding and corralling fish toward shore into an ever-tightening half-circle. The pelicans then dip forward in simultaneous motion to scoop prey into their expanded pouches.

One of the largest breeding populations of American white pelicans in the world, often over 20,000, gathers on Great Salt Lake’s Gunnison Island, raising thousands of young each year. Pelicans can also be seen at Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area, Antelope Island, Stansbury Lake, Ogden Bay, Willard Bay, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Salt Creek Wilderness Management Area, and Cutler Marsh.

Andean Geese

Andean Goose
The Andean Goose resides around wetlands in the Andes, above 10,000 feet, unless forced to descend to lower altitudes by winter snow.

These birds avoid swimming except in emergencies and are mainly vegetarian, feeding on grasses, sedges (perennial plants that resemble grasses), and fleshy aquatic plants.

The Andean Goose builds a shallow nest of vegetation on the ground and lays 5-10 eggs with incubation around 39 days.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Bald eagles are found only on the North American continent living near open water from Alaska to Northern Mexico.

Their primary food source is fish but they also feed on carrion, waterfowl, and small mammals. Adult male eagles generally weigh about 9 pounds and adult females typically weigh between 12 and 13 pounds. Adult eagles have a wing span of up to 7 feet. The distinct white head and tail and yellow beak of the mature bird is developed between 4-5 years of age.

Pairs typically mate for life, which in the wild can be between 30 and 35 years. In captivity, they have been known to live up to 50 years.

Bald Eagles have such keen eyesight that they can spot fish from up to a mile high in the air and will dive at up 100 miles per hour. Eagles have been observed lifting prey weighing well over 4 pounds.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
The Barred Owl is native to North America and goes by many other names but is best known as the Hoot Owl because of its call. The adult is up to 2 feet long with a 4 foot wingspan and weighing 1.1 to 2.3 lbs. It has brown eyes; all other owls have yellow eyes.

The owl lives in large forests near swamps or other water in Canada, the eastern United States, and Mexico but in recent years it has spread to the western United States. Populations increase faster in suburban settings than in old growth forest. The main danger to owls in suburban settings is from cars but the increased offspring offset deaths.

The Barred Owl’s nest is often in a tree cavity, perhaps taking over an old nesting site made previously by another bird or squirrel. The female incubates her eggs while the male brings her food. Hatching takes place approximately 4 weeks later.

These owls have few predators, but young, unwary owls may be taken by cats. The most significant predator of Barred Owls is the Great Horned Owl.

The principal prey of this owl are meadow voles, mice and shrews, rats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, moles, opossums, mink, and weasels. Birds are taken occasionally including smaller owls. It occasionally wades into water to capture fish, turtles, frogs and crayfish.

Bryson at Tracy Aviary

Blue-coated Bryson
Unique to Utah, the Blue-coated Bryson is only seen with this plumage in the winter months.

He feeds on mostly what is given to him but will forage for snacks at any time. He is particularly fond of cheese.

Bryson can be seen at times carrying a stick that he likes to poke objects with or drag in the soil. He is not looking for tasty grubs but is merely playing, as this species is prone to do.

It is essential that he remain free roaming as humans do poorly in captivity. However, the young (and some adults) have to be monitored constantly to keep them from mischief.

The Blue-coated Bryson thrives in the traditional family habitat, which in recent decades has been threatened.

Chilean Flamingo

Chilean Flamingo
Chilean flamingos live in flocks of dozens to tens of thousands of birds along shallow, brackish lakes and rivers throughout South America.

Flamingos are not born pink but turn pink after two years of eating shrimp and tiny algae.

While their feet stir up algae, their beaks tip upside-down in the water, acting as a filtering system to keep food in and strain water out.

By tucking one leg up into the soft down on their stomach, flamingos release less heat along the surface area of their legs to regulate their body temperature more effectively.

Chilean flamingos build two-foot high mud nests on which the female lays one white egg on top.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
In addition to North American, Golden Eagles are found in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They favor cliffs, mountains, and other rugged terrain. These birds have a body length reaching 3 feet and a wingspan over 7 feet wide.

Golden Eagles mature at the age of 4 and generally mate for life.

When hunting, pairs divide the labor – one bird chases its prey to the point of exhaustion while the other swoops in for the kill. They use their talons to kill and carry their prey. While they can reach flight speeds of 80 miles per hour, their average speed is 30 miles per hour. When they dive for prey, their speed can exceed 200 miles per hour.

Their diet includes rabbits, squirrels, prairie dogs, groundhogs, skunks, fox, and sometimes much larger mammals. They also prey on other birds, such as crows, pheasants, and meadowlarks. Because of the bird’s impressive hunting skills they only migrate during occasional food shortages and rarely long distances.

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan
The Keel-billed Toucan lives in Southeast Mexico through Northern South America. They are a very social species and live in groups of 6-12 birds.

Female Keel-billed Toucans are smaller and have a shorter bill than the males. The species sleep in tree cavities with other Toucans. They fold their tails up and tuck their beaks under a wing to make more space.

They eat fruit but also enjoy small birds, eggs, reptiles and insects. These birds have 2-4 eggs each clutch; both male and female help to incubate the eggs.

This bird was part of the free-flighted encounters with Tracy Aviary trainers.

Monks Parakeet

Monks Parakeet
The Monks Parakeet is globally very common and in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay they are regarded as agricultural pests. They are found in open woodlands, palm forests and palm groves as well as urban habitats. They eat seeds, nuts, blossoms, insects, and grasses.

The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest, in a tree or on a man-made structure, rather than using a hole in a tree. They build a single large nest with separate entrances for each pair. In the wild, these colonies can become quite large, with pairs occupying separate “apartments” in nests that can reach the size of a small automobile.

These nests can attract many other tenants including birds of prey such as the Spot-winged Falconet, ducks such as the Yellow-billed Teal, and even mammals. Their 5-12 white eggs hatch in about 24 days.

Peacock

Peafowl
Peafowl are a species of pheasant native to India and Sri Lanka and are best known for the peacock’s extravagant eye-spotted tail display during mating season.

While wild peafowl live in forests and open grassy areas, peafowl can now be found all over the world as pets and exhibit birds.

They are content to remain free roaming and fully flighted wherever they have adequate food and protection from predators.

The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny color with darker brown patches.

Red-crested Turaco

Red-crested Turaco
The Red-crested Turaco measures 20 inches from beak to tail and is a fruit-eating bird from western Angola. They are so abundant in Africa that they are considered a pest. It inhabits forest and savanna and lives 5 to 9 years. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs but the male helps in the 21 to 24 days of incubation.

Turacos are the only birds to possess true red and green color. In most birds, the color is a reflection produced by the feather structure. The turaco’s red and green pigments both contain copper.

These birds have mobile outer toes, which they can rotate forward or backward. They live in large flocks of up to 30 individuals. During courtship, the male will feed the female.

This bird was part of the free-flighted encounters with Tracy Aviary trainers.

Southern Lapwing

Southern Lapwing
The Southern lapwing is a ground-dwelling wading bird found throughout South America near lakes, riverbanks, open grassland and even urban areas, such as soccer fields.

During the breeding season, parents produce alarm calls that cause their chicks to crouch in the vegetation when a potential predator is near. It has such an alarming call that farmers will use this bird as a guard for livestock.

The timing of breeding for Southern Lapwings is strongly related to the rainy season. They create a nest on the ground supported with twigs and the female will lay 2 to 4 black-spotted brown eggs.

It feeds mainly at night, often in flocks, eating insects and other small invertebrates.

In Uruguay, due to its bold and combative nature it has become mascot of the Uruguay national rugby team.

Beautiful Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
The Trumpeter Swan is native to Northern North America and is the largest waterfowl found in its range. These birds can live over 24 years in the wild and form tight pair bonds with their mate that lasts a lifetime.

Females lay 1-9 eggs in a large nest of vegetation near water, and eggs are incubated by both parents. The grayish-brown Cygnets leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching to swim and feed with the parents.

During the feeding at Tracy Aviary, a duck was perceived by the swans to be eating their food and was dealt with accordingly.

Feeding Time Video

 

Sources

  • Tracy Aviary
  • Extracts from various Wikipedia bird articles.

Credits

  • Thanks to Jill Willoughby for the video and the free-flighted encounters photographs.

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The Ten Most Popular Posts of 2011

In 2011 Rickety received 114,610 visits from 192 countries, generating 191,044 pageviews. I published 195 posts in 2011 but only two of them made it into the top ten. The remainder were written in 2010 (3) and 2009 (5). Here are the ten most popular:

10

Defense spendingDefense Spending by Country
In the latter half of 2011, talk of spending cuts increased traffic to my defense spending posts. This is the first of three posts on the subject in the top ten.

The wide gap between U.S. and world defense expenditures is of concern to many citizens.

This post, written in 2009, placed #5 that year and #8 in 2010.

Cowboys Stadium big screen

9

Cowboys Stadium Tour
Whenever the Cowboys were playing, this post received more hits. Written in 2010, it is one of only a few posts I have written about sports.

I found the tour of the stadium very interesting, considering I don’t watch any football and thought the Cowboys referred to some ranchers in Wyoming.

8

Laying Permastone tileInstalling a PermaStone Modular Vinyl Tile Floor
I have not written many how-to posts but this article has gradually risen in popularity until finally breaking into the top ten this year.

The flooring has stood up to wear very well and over two and a half years later looks like it was installed yesterday.

Of course it helps that it was installed after the children were grown.

Defense Spending by Country

7

2009 Defense Spending by Country
In 2009, U.S defense spending was more than the next fifteen countries combined. The chart graphically illustrates the huge gap, which has been widening annually.

6

Jacob Encountering RachelTen Artists Paint Old Testament Women
I put together this small collection of paintings in 2010 when the Old Testament was being studied in Sunday School. It reached the top ten that year at #5.

Of the ten paintings, one of my favorites is of Huldah in Treasure the Word, by Elspeth Young. Huldah is the woman who authenticated a book of the Law for King Josiah. Another favorite is Rebekah At The Well, by Michael Deas.

Woman with an issue of blood

5

Seven Artists Paint New Testament Women
2011 saw the New Testament as the scripture of study in Sunday School. These paintings depict seven different women but we only know two of them by name – Mary and Lydia.

My favorite is Lydia in She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands, by Elspeth Young. As Paul preached, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia. She believed Paul’s words and she and the members of her household were baptized.

4

Bryson and GrandpaUnited States Total Fertility Rate Increases
This is the first post I wrote about U.S. total fertility rate (TFR). It was #1 in 2009 and #2 in 2010. Surprised at its popularity I wrote another post on world TFR which then became just as popular.

The U.S. has a higher TFR than Europe and many Asian countries and will be much more able to the weather the demographic winter that will shortly befall many nations.

Aurora in an egg

3

World Total Fertility Rate Declines
Since 1950 the world TFR has been decreasing steadily and by 2050, according to the United Nation, the world TFR is projected to drop below replacement levels.

This post has been as popular as my post on U.S. TFR and reached #3 in 2010 with pageviews numbering 5,239 in 2011.

2

Where Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia meet 12 Beautiful Mongolian Landscape Photographs
Written in 2009, this post was #1 in 2010. Its popularity surprised me, especially as it is just a collection of photographs garnered from Flickr.

I have many posts and photographs about Daniel’s Mongolian mission on my blog and this attracts a fair number of Mongolian visitors.

There were 5,578 pageviews of this post during 2011, of which 415 were viewed from Mongolia.

Defense Spending by Country 2010

1

2010 Defense Spending by Country
This post was written in June of 2011 and shot to #1 as talk of The-Mother-Of-All-Defense-Cuts increased.

In 2011 the post captured 7,312 pageviews.

Also see the Best of Rickety.
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Father Christmas In Kaysville

Father Christmas visiting

Father Christmas visiting the grandchildren

Father Christmas came to visit
My grandchildren this year.
But when he loudly Ho Ho Hoed
They refused to go near.
So Father Christmas skillfully
Made candy canes appear.
And with this very tasty treat
He overcame their fear.
Jill and grandchildren with Father Christmas

Jill holding Bryson and Aurora

Bryson with Father Christmas

Bryson and Santa

 
Photo Credit: Bryson and Santa courtesy of Jill
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