Margaret Thatcher’s Passing and the Hateful Spirit of the Left

The morbid legacy of Marx and Lenin.

Since former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away last week, small pockets of leftists have been figuratively spitting on her memory. You’ve probably seen the stories of their juvenile antics, such as drinking champagne in Trafalgar Square while holding up disrespectful signs and singing “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.”

What are we to make of such behavior?

It is obvious to any mature person that such boorish shenanigans cast an unfavorable light, not on Lady Thatcher, but on those individuals who lower themselves to such self-demeaning rudeness. There are dignified ways to express one’s disagreement with Thatcher’s policies as a grateful nation prepares to honor her memory with a ceremonial funeral. An outstanding example of this more civilized approach was that of Argentina’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman. Having not been invited to the funeral due to the decades-long strained relations between his country and the UK, Timerman stated that he did not want to be there anyhow, but that the family should be allowed to mourn in peace. That was classy.

The left, by contrast, prefers to mark this great leader’s passing with derision and disrespect. Part of this is due to simple ignorance combined with a failure of decency.  I am thinking here of twenty-something Britons, who have no personal recollections of Thatcher’s time in office, rendering themselves ridiculous by vilifying her. These young people seem sadly ignorant of the historical reality that Thatcher’s visionary leadership and steely resolve revitalized what had become a moribund economy in the UK.

These kids have acted on hearsay. They have had a parent or teacher tell them that the Iron Lady was mean and that she stepped on people. That calumny is the standard refrain of older Britons, such as trade unionists and Oxford dons, who never forgave Thatcher for cutting off or reducing the flow of government subsidies to them. What the young people denigrating Thatcher don’t understand is that Thatcher did not set out to lay a burden on those formerly privileged constituencies, but rather to lift off the burden that those special interest groups had laid on the beleaguered British taxpayer. To use contemporary terminology, the dons and unionists were cronies of politicians who had channeled large flows of tax monies to them for decades. Today, the left rightly denounces the corruption of political cronyism and the lining of pockets of special interest groups. To be consistent, they should salute Thatcher for having taken on the special interests, reducing cronyism, providing relief to taxpayers, and reinvigorating the UK’s economy.

Besides immaturity, ignorance, spite, and revenge, there is another motive for the unseemly anti-Thatcher eruptions—the reason why the left’s ugly behavior should not be surprising: The left loves to hate. This is their essence, the deformed heart of their ideology.

The leftist penchant for personal vilification dates back at least as far as to Karl Marx. According to Bertolt Brecht, Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” He also was an avid practitioner of the ad hominem attack—the preferred weapon of those who can’t win arguments through reason and logic.

Marx crushed his rivals for intellectual leadership of the socialist movement by ridiculing their theories as “utopian” while insisting that his own version of socialism was “scientific.” What a farce! Remember, Marx had written in “The German Ideology” (1845), “ communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.” He also insisted in “The Communist Manifesto” that the way to make the state disappear was to give all power to the state. Marx was nothing more than a mystic whose “scientific socialism” was fraudulent (an author named Fred Gottheil once catalogued Marx’ historical predictions and found that, out of 325, only six had proven correct); hence, the only way Marx could prevail was to resort to the scorched-earth tactic of verbally abusing and annihilating his opponents—a tactic retained by his intellectual heirs.

Lenin made the centrality of hatred in leftist movements chillingly explicit. In 1923, he told the Soviet commissars of education, “We must teach our children to hate.  Hatred is the basis of communism.”  In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin baldly asserted that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

The hateful spirit of Marx and Lenin has suffused all leftist ideologies, movements, and regimes, whether Soviet communism, Hitler’s national socialism, or today’s illiberal progressivism and pagan environmentalism.  Only hatred could explain the willingness to kill, enslave, and rob vast numbers of innocent human beings.  Hatred corrodes one’s conscience.  Under its toxic influence, a person will regard man’s God-given right to be secure in his life, liberty, and property as nuisances to be overcome, not commandments to be obeyed.  The flip side of hatred is an inflated self-love, self-importance and self-righteousness so extreme that respect for other human beings diminishes and, in extreme cases (Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim, et al.), disappears.

Hatemongering is alive and well on the left today. American leftists, aping the deviousness of Marx himself, protest “hate crimes,” then proceed to foment hatred for right-thinking Americans. Thus, they churn out bilge like “The I Hate Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh…Reader,” “The I Hate Dick Cheney…Reader,” and “The I Hate George W. Bush Reader.” In fact, now that the Ku Klux Klan has (thankfully!) petered out, the anti-communist-hating American left appears to have taken over as our country’s most virulent hate group.

British leftists have been demonstrating their hate and wretchedness by trying to detract from the solemnity and dignity of the funeral of one of the 20th century’s great leaders. I think, though, that their boorishness has backfired. By displaying their morbid glee on the occasion of Mrs. Thatcher’s passing, they unwittingly have paid her a great tribute. For leftists to have made such a big deal about the death of an elderly lady who has been out of the public realm for more than two decades, shows how great and effective she was as a champion of individual liberty, true justice, and smaller government. In this perverse way, the left’s ungracious display of pettiness is the greatest salute they could give to Margaret Thatcher. I think the Iron Lady would be pleased that she earned this backhanded compliment.

Now, while the leftists stew in their own pathetic, self-imposed unhappiness, the rest of us can celebrate a life well-lived and remember with gratitude a principled leader who did so much for so many. Bravo, Mrs. Thatcher. Well done!

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