From the FB page of Margaret Thatcher: ‘The Grocer’s Daughter’
The single biggest intellectual error during my political lifetime has been to confuse freedom with equality.
Equality – being an unnatural condition which can only be enforced by the state – is usually the enemy of liberty. This was a point I made in France on the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution, which deliberately and dangerously confused the two. My French hosts were somewhat perplexed. But the point stands.
Starting with the French Revolution, and then greatly encouraged by the Bolshevik Revolution, modern times have been plagued by ” -isms”, that is by ideologies, in effect secular religions. Most of them were unrelievedly bad.
Communism accounted for approaching a hundred million deaths. It enslaved the East, while its first cousin socialism impoverished much of the West. Nazism – that other brand of socialism – and its tamer forbear Fascism killed about 25 million. All have left scars on our societies which perhaps will never fully heal.
The proponents of these ideologies engaged in polemics and indeed violence against each other. But they had more in common than they admitted. For their essence was that the state had the right, indeed the duty, to act like God. And the results were devilish.
2000 Mar 27 Mo, Margaret Thatcher.
Speech accepting an honorary degree from Hofstra University.