This is my post about the recent death of Lady Thatcher
(my comrade Bosch Fawstin has a beautiful tribute you can see here) [EDIT: Given Fawstin’s recent disgraceful smearing of Nelson Mandela, I formally retract and denounce this endorsement]. I would in particular focus on her secularist triumph in the matter of the Argenine war.
I’m sure we have all read our Hitchens about the fact that the term fascist was often a synonym for the “extreme Catholic Right“. That was absolutely true in the case of the Argentine Junta. If you have not read the man’s work, here is a brief summary: the Argentine Junta was the direct, ideological descendant of men like General Rosas who hunted the native Americans as ‘vermin’ (you can read this account in any good biography of Darwin), remained in power by pumping out the worst sort of anti-semitic, blood-and-soil nonsense, and General Galtieri’s predecessor was ultimately arrested and prosecuted for selling into slavery the babies from his private rape prisons. Read that last bit again and see if you can fit it into your head at once.
The Falklands war was an Anschluss like attempt to rally the people at home (worse than the Anschluss in one way since the people of the Falklands have always made it clear that they wanted to remain part of Great Britain), and it was Thatcher’s willingness to stand firm on that point that ultimately lead to the fall of that Junta.
In the East, that is, Eastern Europe on the other hand, Thatcher remains a figure of awe for very many people for her willingness to hold the line against the menace of Communism. There has been a persistant attempt to negate or evade this point, but Communism was not a “Red Scare” but a reality that enslaved a third of mankind. Those that had to live under that rule have not forgotten, and that is why I will always remember her with respect.
At this point there is a difficulty that needs to be faced squarely. Namely, the matter of Afghanistan, the matter of South Africa and Chile and the unfortunate Section 28. To take this in reverse order, it is a sad truth that the Thatcher government passed a nasty little law called ‘Section 28’ that made it illegal to promote homosexuality in schools. As comrade Cohen has pointed out, this is the first law since Hammurabi that has been 100% effective. As will surprise absolutely no one, there have been exactly 0 cases of people being indoctrinated into homosexuality in public schools. What this law simply did was to make it difficult for teachers to step in when gay kids were getting beaten up in the schoolyards.
On the matters of Chile and South Africa, this is part of the terrible choice that faced many of those who believed in liberty during the cold war. It is worth remembering that the outset of Thatcher’s premiership, one of her first acts was to finalize the independence of what was then known as Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. This meant in turn, handing the nation over to Robert Mugabe, who enjoyed a reputation amongst the liberal left that was very similar to the one being attributed to Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile the ANC at the time was heavily attacked for not just Communist associations in the sense of socialists or trotskyists, but of being almost slavishly pro-Moscow at the time. So, those who believed in liberty were faced with a terrible choice: either turn a blind eye to the monstrously unjust, racist tyranny of Apartheid or take a gamble on a movement aligned with the one that had enslaved a third of the planet and killed more people than almost any other. To say that that was an uncontroversial choice is to be flippant. I think that people routinely underestimate how lucky South Africa and the world in general has been in the person of Mandela. It speaks well of the Iron Lady that, on following the collapse of Communism, she did the right thing (I should not that while there has been a lot of, in this case, justified anger at her from South Africa, both Mandela and Jacob Zuma have been generous in their tributes to her now). In the case of Chile, the same ghastly dilemma emerges. Salvador Allende had close ties to the Communist party.
I’ve written elsewhere that the anti-communist and pro-capitalist Right during the twentieth century made a terrible mistake and disgraced itself by being willing to turn a blind eye (a blind eye at best) to tyrannies like Apartheid and the far worse Pinochet regime in Chile, and I have also written to my Rightist comrades that this is something we have to come to terms with and flush out. That said, I know it is much easier to make that sort of call with the benefit of hindsight.
Finally, I see that my colleague has brought up the subject of the financing of the Afghan mujahideen. For the record, after much cogitation, I can agree that it would have been better to leave Afganistan to the tender mercies of the Soviet gunships (if you have not seen the excellent film Charlie Wilson’s War, I can highly recommend it). However, that is the trade off you have to be willing to make: you have to be willing to leave the Afghan villagers to the Soviet gunships. Since we are on the subject of Iron Women, let the record show that the late Oriana Fallaci made this comment at the time. It strikes me that those who are making this kind of cheap point now are not willing to admit this corollary – and further, that those who are extremely anti-Thatcher are also those unwilling to draw a line against the modern Jihad. So I suspect bad faith and demagogy when this ‘point’ is made (naturally, I exempt my colleague who has a good record on chronicling the Jihad). For that matter, I cannot believe for one second that Mrs Thatcher would have been anything other than utterly intransigent when it came to facing down the current menace.
So, Ave Atque Vale, Domina Ferreum! We could do with one like you in times like these.