Thursday, July 3, 2008


I just received the most recent issue of Imprimis. I always find the articles interesting.

This issue had to do with the dedication of a Margaret Thatcher statue at Hillsdale College. The speech was by John O’Sullivan.

I was impressed by his analysis of Thatcher’s impact on the economy of Great Britain. It would appear that we need a strong dose of the same medicine. I wish I could say that England has stayed the course set by Lady Thatcher but they have not; thus I have no evidence that her path would lead US where we need to go.

Her first lesson is that what we found when the wall fell was a Soviet system that didn’t work. Government was not only ineffective but also corrupt. As some of these new nation-states replaced Soviet rule, they often turned to the model of democracy.

O’Sullivan remarked in his speech, “Lady Thatcher became a hero to these new societies. But when she visited them, her message was political as much as economic: It was that they should treat the rule of law as being vital to both democracy and market freedom. Her message was one of ordered liberty.”

She sought to bring back the “vigorous virtues” of self-reliance, diligence, thrift, trustworthiness, and initiative.

In 1986, Alexander Natta of the Italian Communist Party commented on the welfare state and government meddling in the free market. Natta remarks, “Any bureaucratization encourages the apparatus to protect its own interests and to forget about the citizens’ interests. I suppose that is exactly why the Right’s demands of re-privatisation are falling on a fertile ground in Western public opinion.”

Today Thatcher sounds a warning regarding this mania over free trade agreements. Everywhere we look Bush is trying to strike a new deal (NAFTA, CAFTA, North Korea…) with some emerging nation. It is the “bait” of diplomatic negotiations for Bush.

But O’Sullivan remarks that Thatcher in her book “Statecraft” claims that vigorous virtues and ordered liberty and exactly what we need in the globalization process. “She believes in international cooperation between sovereign nation-states rather than global governance by transnational institutions. In particular, while urging a warm relationship with continental Europe, she proposes that Britain should regain and exercise its sovereign independence in a wider commonwealth of English-speaking peoples.”

I agree. I think we are seeing the effects of a NAFTA that is “too close” and an EU that often forgets the sovereignty of its member nations. Certainly the United Nations cannot guide us out of these malformed alliances. Being self-preserving, NAFTA will ignore or even disguise the failures in the agreement. Sales figures notwithstanding, NAFTA has NOT improved the quality of life on either side of the border.

If it was supposed to relieve the pressure of illegal immigration at the border it has failed. To the contrary, there has been a steady increase in unlawful presence from Mexico since NAFTA began.

I believe Thatcher helps us to understand WHY it has failed. It isn’t because border crossing is too cumbersome or trucking policies have not been fair for Mexican drivers. It is because of a lack of fundamental virtue and respect for sovereignty and the rule of law.

Congress and candidates alike miss this important point.

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