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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Libertarian In Paris, Part III: Celebrating the Death of Margaret Thatcher



I was in England last week when the news of Margaret Thatcher's death broke. We were actually having tea at Fortnum & Mason's a few blocks from her hotel when she died. I haven't spent a lot of time examining the domestic policies of the United Kingdom and I make no pretense to understand them–a courtesy not applied to American politics by most people I encounter from the UK. I do however know that the end of the Cold War came about faster because of Thatcher, and I’d venture a guess that the brief glimpse of British economic ascendancy we witnessed in the 1990’s was as a result of at least some of Thatcher’s policies. Maybe not. Either way I don’t care. I’m not English. I have my own problems.


This Is the Part Where I Talk About the British Rail System 
 
As blissfully ignorant as I might be about British domestic politics, I am however a sort of expert on the difficulties of traveling on the British rail system. Here are some interesting facts about the London Underground:

  • People who commit suicide by throwing themselves under trains are called “one-unders”
  • Approximately one person a week commits suicide via an Underground train
  • The peak time for Underground suicides is 11:00AM
  • Approximately 200 people commit suicide by train every year throughout the UK

Two times in three days we were delayed by either “someone under the train” or a “fatality on tracks.” People groused and grumbled because of the inconvenience, then they all sort of did a collective tsk-tsk “such a shame” maneuver as they hustled to find other travel arrangements. I commuted on the NYC subway and rail system off and on for 25 years and was delayed zero times by a suicide.

One evening on the BBC evening news, the very stiff and insufferable lady talking head shook her head condescendingly and wondered “how many more Americans were going to die from guns” before America solved its gun problem. I stayed up late, but I didn’t hear this same well-coiffed yet arrogantly blind busy-body wonder when the UK was going to get its rail suicide problem under control. I always find it annoying when people point to the problems of others while ignoring their own problems. But that’s just me.


Anyway, Let’s Talk About Celebrating When Someone Dies

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” folks of the UK are ecstatic that an old woman has passed away. Let’s watch this video:


As Thatcher is buried today, people throughout the British Isles are taking the day off from work and celebrating. Here’s a picture:

Twice we sent our blood and treasure to protect this lot.

You’d think Hitler himself had loosed his Earthly chains.

I bet these people were not upset in the least when Hugo Chavez died. Even though Venezuela is rife with missing political opponents and a rapidly increasing poverty rate, Chavez is a Leftist, so he was cool.


Here’s the Part Where If You Get Pissed Off At What You Read You Can Celebrate When I Die, But Beyond That, Too Frigging Bad

A political movement that celebrates in the deaths of others–even political adversaries–is dangerous beyond the pale. A political mindset that feels it can only compete in the arena of ideas through the death of its opponents eventually finds nothing but opponents. We see this phenomenon in the United States on a regular basis. It's always the Left and the Democrats who are happy when someone they oppose dies. How many of you Leftists out there pray on a regular basis that Dick Cheney dies? You know who you are and you’re all pretty horribly simplistic people.

A political viewpoint that views life–even the life of those with whom one disagrees–as dispensable and unnecessary is downright scary. People who need the deaths of others to feel validated in their own thoughts will eventually broaden the base of people who must die in order to continue that validation. Think I'm prattling on about non-sense? Read a history book. Start with the French Revolution and go from there.

Liberalism and Socialism (one in the same) has moved so far beyond intellectual decency that it now celebrates regularly when someone who disagrees with them dies. I understand disagreement, but don’t bother trying to justify celebrating death to me: You are an abject failure as an intellectual human being and a danger to those of us who don’t see things your way. Either that or you are the useful idiot of those who are.

A person who celebrates the death of a leader who has been out of power for 25 years is in deep need of some introspection. The mob mentality that the death of others is a good thing brings to mind the old adage that to live by the sword is to die by the sword. Personally, I fear any human being who delights in the death of any other human being. But for a political movement to take to the streets in joy over the death of Margaret Thatcher leaves one wondering about the fabric of the society of the celebrants. 

Civilized indeed.

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