I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was prime minister of Great Britain from 1979-1990. Her tenure was the longest of a British prime minister of the 20th century and she was the first woman to hold the position. Thatcher was first elected to Parliament in 1959 and was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, serving as opposition leader until her election as prime minister. Her nickname ‘the iron lady’ was given to her by a journalist from the Soviet Union and before turning to politics, her original career was as a chemist.
There are individual men and women, and there are families…
And that is really it, as far as looking for collective help goes in our society. As children, we look to our parents for guidance. As a husband, Lord knows I depend on my good wife. Our extended families are there, too. But that’s where it ends. Those looking to their government for anything from an education to a place to live are looking in the wrong place. A government can only manage or, as likely as not, exacerbate, problems, some of which they’ve caused. They are unable to solve them.
And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.
We must always look to ourselves. We are the key to a good life, and we are also our biggest obstacle to one. It is us, not a government program, that determines where we go in this life.
A good life is both easy and hard.
It’s easy because all we need is a plan to maximize and utilize the talents we were issued at birth and the patience to see this plan through to the very end. It is tough for these same reasons. We must look deep inside us to know what we are about and we must have a plan for our days and we must have the courage and patience to do work that plan every day. Not some days and not some years. Every day and every year until we die.
The life we are meant to live takes wisdom, courage and effort and only we can provide that. No government can do it for us.
Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in 1988 in a hotel room in Berkeley, California.