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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Epic Excerpts: Stephen Covey on Management

Stephen R. Covey is the author of the best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Other books he has written include First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, The Divine Center and Spiritual Roots of Human Relations.

Dr. Covey, father of nine and a grandfather of fifty-two, lives with his wife Sandra in Provo, Utah. He is currently a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Covey is a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a two-year mission in England for his church. Covey served as the first president of the Irish Mission of the church starting in July 1962.

I have read several of Stephen Covey’s books and have noted some passages about leadership and management that I like.

Stephen Covey

Difference Between Leadership And Management

You can quickly grasp the important difference between leadership and management if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem solvers. They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.
The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.
The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!”
But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.” (Seven Habits, p 101)

Management is Discipline

Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what “first things” are, it is management that puts them first, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, Management is discipline, carrying it out. (Seven Habits, p 148)

Lead People, Manage Things

You can’t lead inventories and cash flow and costs. You have to manage them. Why? Because things don’t have the power and freedom to choose. Only people do. So you lead (empower) people. You manage and control things. (The 8th Habit, p 101)

Self-Management

Time management is really a misnomer, because we all have exactly the same amount of time, although some accomplish several times as much as others do with their time. Self-management is a better term, because it implies that we manage ourselves in the time alloted us. Most people manage their lives by crises; they are driven by external events, circumstances, and problems. They become problem-minded, and the only priority setting they do is between one problem and another. Effective time managers are opportunity-minded. They don’t deny or ignore problems, but they try to prevent them. They occasionally have to deal with acute problems or crises, but in the main they prevent them from reaching the level of concern through careful analysis into the nature of the problems and through long-range planning. (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 138)

The Bottom Line

Management deals more with control, logistics, and effiency. Leadership deals with the top line, management deals with the bottom line. The hand can’t say to the foot, “I have no need of thee.” Both leadership and management, effectiveness and efficiency, are necessary. (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 255-256)

No Feeling, No Heart

People who are excellent managers but poor leaders may be extremely well organized and run a tight ship with superior systems and procedures and detailed job descriptions. But unless they are internally motivated, little gets done because their is no feeling, no heart; everything is too mechanical, too formal, too tight, too protective. A looser organization may work much better even though it may appear to an outside observer to be disorganized and confused. Truly significant accomplishments may result simply because people share a common vision, purpose, or sense of mission. (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 248)

Weaknesses Become Irrelevent

Remember, in a complementary team, individual strengths (voices) become productive and their weaknesses become irrelevent because they are compensated for by the strengths of others. (The 8th Habit, p 113)

Positive Synergy

People spend their creativity on their own goals and dreams — and much of the energy is lost to the organization. Negative synergy is an enormous waste of human talent. The formula for positive synergy is involvement + patience = commitment. The employee behind the desk should be treated like the customer in front of the desk. There is nothing under heaven that can buy voluntary commitment. You can buy a man’s hands and back, but not his heart and mind. (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 179)

The Greatest Creation

Let us realize as executives or as workers in any endeavor in any organization that people are the most important thing in this world. They are the greatest creation of God. (Spiritual Roots of Human Relations, p 119)

The Whole Person

Now we work with fairness, kindness, efficiency, and effectiveness. We work with the whole person. We see that people are not just resources or assets, not just economic, social, and psychological beings. They are also spiritual beings; they want meaning, a sense of doing something that matters. People do not want to wotk for a cause with little meaning, even though it taps their mental capacities to the fullest. There must be purposes that lift them, ennoble them, and bring them to their highest selves. (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 179)

Self-Government

Management is the breaking down, the analysis, the sequencing, the specific application, the time-bound left brain aspect of effective self-government. (Seven Habits, p 147)

By The Rules

It seems that people tend to codify past successful practices into rules for the future and give energy to preserving and enforcing these rules even though they no longer apply. Indeed, traditional procedures and practices die hard! (Principle-Centered Leadership, p 245)

True Worth

The problem is, managers today are still applying the Industrial Age control model to knowledge workers. Because many in positions of authority do not see the true worth and potential of their people and do not possess a complete, accurate understanding of human nature, they manage people as they do things. This lack of understanding also prevents them from tapping into the highest motivations, talents and genius of people. (The 8th Habit, p 16)

More For Less

The capacity to produce more for less is based on unleashing the human potential throughout an entire organization, rather than again falling into the traditional trap of having people at the top make all the important decisions and having the rest wield the screwdrivers. This approach simply does not work in modern, tough times. (The 8th Habit, p 302)

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Epic Excerpts: Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley

Gordon Bitner Hinckley, born 23 June 1910 was the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 12 March 1995 until his death. During Hinckley’s presidency he dedicated more temples than anyone else. He presided over the building of the 20,000 seat Conference Center, the issuance of the Proclamation on the Family, the creation of the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund and the reconstruction of the historic Nauvoo Illinois Temple. At the time of his death, 27 January 2008, almost one-third of the Church’s membership had joined under his leadership. I can recall many of these epic quotations being spoken:

Stand A Little Taller

The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (“This Is the Work of the Master,” Ensign, May 1995, 69)

Hard Work

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. (“Farewell to a Prophet,” Ensign, Jul 1994, 37–40)

Death

All of us have to deal with death at one time or another, but to have in one’s heart a solid conviction concerning the reality of eternal life is to bring a sense of peace in an hour of tragedy and loss that can come from no other source under the heaven. (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Jan 1998, 72)

Respect For Self

Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. (“In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, Sep 2004, 2–6)

Watch Ourselves

Let us, each of us, watch ourselves. Whenever we have within us a little temper, go outside, breathe some fresh air, and come in with a smile and throw your arms around your companion and tell her you love her. Look to your children and let them know that you love them. Live with them kindly and graciously, as Latter-day Saints should do. (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug 2000, 2)

Good Parents

[The Lord] expects us to be good parents, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. He expects husbands to treat their wives with deference and respect. He expects wives to treat their husbands with kindness and helpfulness. He expects us to be good parents to our children. (“Latter-day Counsel: Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 2001, 73)

Kindness

Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe. (“We Bear Witness of Him,” Ensign, May 1998, 4)

Houses In Order

I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings. . . We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the church. Self-reliance cannot be obtained when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others. (“To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov 1998, 51)

Mothers

It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love and motivation to grow and do well. (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 98)

Honesty

I think the Lord expects of his people that they will be absolutely honest in all of their dealings. In all that they do, they will be honest with others and honest with themselves. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.” (Thirteenth Article of Faith) (“Latter-day Counsel: Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 1999, 71)

Try Handing Out Compliments

There is a sad tendency in our world today for persons to cut one another down. Did you ever realize that it does not take very much in the way of brainpower to make remarks that may wound another? Try the opposite of that. Try handing out compliments. (“Strengthening Each Other,” Ensign, Feb 1985, 3)

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Epic Excerpts: Bjarne Stroustrup on Management

Bjarne Stroustrup.

Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup is a computer scientist and the College of Engineering Chair Professor of Computer Science at Texas A&M University. He is most notable for developing the C++ programming language. Stroustrup also wrote what many consider to be the standard text for the language, The C++ Programming Language, which is now in its third edition.

Management

I came across the name Bjarne Stroustrup while I was learning to develop C++ and using his book The C++ Programming Language (Second Edition). One of the most interesting sections of the book is Chapter 11, Design and Development. The sub-section entitled Management was a real gem, filled with statements that are perfectly obvious once you think about it. Although his words are geared towards a programming environment, much of what he writes has general application.

In the following excerpts a few sentences have been altered slightly to maintain the original meaning.

Provided it makes some minimum of sense, most people do what they are encouraged to do. (page 382).

On re-use of code: Most organizations reward individuals and groups that choose to re-invent the wheel. (page 382).

An organization that treats its programmers as morons will soon have programmers that are willing and able to act like morons only. (page 382).

If an organization has no mechanism for promoting and rewarding cooperation and sharing, cooperation and sharing will be rare. (page 383).

Common sense can be the first victim of a genuine and often ardent desire to improve the way things are done. Unfortunately, once common sense is missing there is no limit to the damage that can unwittingly be done. (page 384).

Managers often forget that organizations consist of individuals. A popular notion is that programmers are equal and interchangeable. This is a fallacy that can destroy an organization by driving out many of the most effective individuals. Individuals are interchangeable only if they are not allowed to take advantage of skills that raise them above the absolute minimum required for the task in question. (page 385).

Quality is far harder to measure than quantity of output, yet individuals and groups must be rewarded based on the quality of their output rather than by crude quantity measures. (page 386).

It is essentially impossible to judge the performance of an individual on the basis of a single year’s work. (page 386).

Naturally, there is often a fear of change among individuals. This can lead to an overestimate of the problems involved in a change and a reluctance to acknowledge problems with the old ways of doing things. Equally naturally, people arguing for change tend to overestimate the beneficial effects of new ways of doing things and to underestimate the problems involved in the change. (page 387).

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Epic Excerpts: Horatio Nelson

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, by Lemuel Francis Abbott
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, born in 1758, was a British flag officer made famous in the Battle of Trafalgar. In this decisive British victory he lost his life. Nelson had the ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men and would heroically cut through the enemy’s lines. He ranks as one of the greatest naval commanders in military history. Many consider him to have been one of the greatest warriors of the seas. By the time of his death in 1805 Nelson had become a national hero, and he was given a State funeral.

Victory

Westminister Abbey, or victory!
(In the battle off Cape St. Vincent, giving the order for boarding the San Josef. Life of Nelson Vol. I, Ch. 4)

A Glorious Victory

May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country and for the benefit of Europe in general a great and glorious victory; and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature of the British fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
(Dispatches and Letters of Horatio Nelson: a diary entry on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar)

England Expects

England expects that every man will do his duty.
(Life of Nelson: A signal to the British fleet at the battle of Trafalgar)

Gain the Victory

First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.
(Before the battle of the Nile)

Ship before the Enemy

When I am without orders and unexpected occurrences arrive I shall always act as I think the honour and glory of my King and Country demand. But in case signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.

Further Reading

Epic Excerpts: Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill at Downing Street giving his famous V sign in June 1943
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II, saving the world from Nazi domination in the dark days of 1940. Throughout his life he cared for his family and sustained his lifestyle through use of the pen. His books and speeches were numerous and have led to a plethora of quotations and witticisms. Having spent my first 28 years of life in England, these five quotations are familiar.

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle.

You ask what is our policy. I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.

You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.
(First statement as Prime Minister, House of Commons, 13 May 1940)

Be Ye Men of Valour

Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: “Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.”
(First broadcast as Prime Minister, 19 May 1940. The quotation is from 1 Maccabees 3:58-60)

Their Finest Hour

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may more forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their Finest Hour.”
(House of Commons, 18 June 1940, following the collapse of France)

The Few

The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
(A tribute to the Royal Air Force, House of Commons, 20 August 1940. Because of German bombing raids, Churchill said, Britain was “a whole nation fighting and suffering together.”)

Never Give In

This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
(Given at his first visit to his old school, Harrow, 29 October 1941)

Further Reading

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