A Contract to Defeat Big Government Socialism - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Contract to Defeat Big Government Socialism
President Ronald Reagan greets Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 1988 (National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons)

The goal of every American should be to defeat Big Government Socialism. Republicans specifically must develop a contract for 2024 built around restoring the America that works by defeating and replacing Big Government Socialism.

It is not enough to just defeat individual personalities. President Joe Biden might lose or retire because he is at times incoherent and cognitively challenged. Vice President Kamala Harris might lose because of her laugh and her failures at the border (and at every other assignment she has been given).

But failed Democrat personalities will simply lead to new Democrat personalities’ being lifted by party kingmakers. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or some other favored Democrat will run, arguing that predecessors’ failures were due to personality and not to philosophy.

And modest reforms that simply slow the growth of Big Government Socialism are not enough. We must defeat the bureaucracies, interest groups, institutions, and ideas that are the pillars of the Big Government Socialist machine. Shallow reforms simply won’t have serious impact and are ultimately doomed to fail. We have occasionally slowed the growth of the Deep State by increasingly centralizing power with novel efforts — but we have never reversed it.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher led a remarkable campaign to destroy socialism as a legitimate governing alternative in the United Kingdom.

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To genuinely reverse the long-term development of centralized power, we must adopt a strategy of genuinely defeating the idea of Big Government Socialism. This is what drove me to write my 2022 national bestseller, Defeating Big Government Socialism: Saving America’s Future. As I wrote in my book, we are fortunate that history offers a roadmap.

Beginning with her emergence as the Opposition’s leader in 1975, Thatcher openly campaigned against the idea of socialism. She condemned it as theft — unsustainable and immoral. She asserted: “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” Unlike any other modern politician, Thatcher was willing to talk bluntly in complicated terms and to use books most politicians had never heard of, let alone read.

During one Conservative Party speech, she pulled out of her purse Friedrich Hayek’s 580-page The Constitution of Liberty and slammed it on the dais. “This,” she asserted, “is what we believe.”

Thatcher understood that her campaign against socialism had to be more than words. The coal miners union was enormously powerful when she was elected prime minister in 1979. Britain had just gone through what came to be known as “the winter of discontent.” Some 4.6 million workers had gone on strike during this period. Life was miserable. Inflation was out of control, and the incumbent Labour government tried to bring it under control by setting limits on wage increases. The unions were in open rebellion against the government.

Arthur Scargill was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers. The union had won a 35 percent pay raise from the Labour government a few years earlier. Now, the union intended to defeat the new Conservative government. Thatcher knew that coal was central to the British economy in that period — and she knew that she could not defeat Scargill without thorough preparation. She spent nearly five years stockpiling coal and working out alternative arrangements so that Britain could withstand a strike.

In Thatcher’s view, this was a profound constitutional fight over who would run Britain: the elected government or the coal miners union. She had grown up in a household that deeply respected Prime Minister Winston Churchill and that believed in fighting for Britain’s survival. She brought this attitude to the fight with the coal miners union and Scargill.

After all this preparation, the government in March 1984 announced a plan to close the least productive mines. The Mineworkers Union immediately went on strike. There were conflicts on picket lines and police-union confrontations for a year. Then, in March 1985, after nearly a year, Scargill and the union admitted defeat and called off the strike.

Thatcher was quite clear about her goals. She had wanted to turn Britain from a “dependent to a self-reliant society—from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation.” In words and deeds, she changed the trajectory of British society. As Henry Kissinger recently wrote in his book Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy, Thatcher genuinely transformed Britain from a decaying, dependent society dominated by government, bureaucracy, and unions into an aggressive, entrepreneurial, free-market-oriented society that had regained its economic and psychological strength.

Thatcher’s victory over the idea of socialism was complete. No openly leftist leader has become prime minister in the last 40 years. (For another in-depth analysis, read There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters by Claire Berlinski.)

In fact, before becoming prime minister in 1997, Tony Blair had to reshape the Labour Party agenda into what was termed “New Labour” in open imitation of Thatcher’s principles. English historian Paul Johnson said that Blair was “Thatcher’s adopted son” in political philosophy. Blair was even more pro-Thatcher than her Conservative Party successor, Prime Minister John Major.

American conservatives need to study Thatcher — even more than President Ronald Reagan — to understand how we can discredit, defeat, and replace Big Government Socialism as a governing system.

The November 2022 campaign must translate the failures of Big Government Socialism into the systemic failures that are inevitable no matter which Democrat or liberal is in charge. It is policy — not personality — that is crippling America.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has spent more than a year with seven working groups developing real reforms that have become a “Commitment to America.” Now the challenge lies in closing the campaign with a focus on the most important efforts:

  • Control spending to bring down the cost of living and move toward a balanced budget;
  • Reestablish energy independence to bring the cost of living even lower — and to bring down the costs of electricity, fertilizer, transportation, and so many other things that are impacted by the cost of oil and natural gas;
  • Control the border to limit illegal migration, curb the flow of drugs, and weaken the drug cartels that are threatening to turn Mexico into a failed state right on our border;
  • Keep murderers locked up, support the police, and identify and isolate district attorneys who refuse to enforce the law;
  • Guarantee parents the right to know what is going on in their child’s classroom.

These five big issues will lead to an American coalition of all Republicans, most independents, and a significant minority of Democrats.

These issues will also attract a large share of the Latino, African-American, Asian-American, and Native-American vote.

Then, in January, the newly elected GOP majorities in the House and the Senate have to implement a bold, Thatcherite campaign of replacing — not just reforming — Big Government Socialism.

For more of Newt’s commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

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