“There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.”
Far from being taken out of context, the quote is a powerful, succinct articulation of the value of the individual, of the idea that individuals should not look to the government to solve all their problems, but should help themselves and help each other.
In today’s world, when society is being deliberately divided into smaller and smaller identity groups of the oppressed, the idea could be stated through the simple phrase, “The only minority I represent or recognise is the individual.”
It is interesting to read Thatcher’s quote in its longer context. It is from an interview with Women’s Own magazine, October 31, 1987, and raises an important point which, unfortunately, is still salient today:
“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. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
XYZ Quote of the Day. We miss you, Maggie.
It’s your XYZ.
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