What do Margaret Thatcher, Mexico and Mars all have in common?
I think they tell us a lot about people. All three of these are items which are bound to generate interest and some controversy yet also reveal deep truths about the state of humanity.
Today the UK mourns as it watches the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. By any standard, Baroness Thatcher was at least an interesting woman, if not an amazing one. As an American, and a fairly young one at that, I am not sure I can appreciate all of the difficulties of the Thatcher years. Many things were happening which seem beyond the realm of my personal experience. Still, I can read what she said and I find some of it to be brilliant. Consider this quote:
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 neighbor. 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.
Margaret Thatcher, talking to Women’s Own magazine, October 1987
The outcome of Thatcher’s policies is still being debated. The logic in these comments should not be up for discussion. “There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.” Too right Maggie!
Here is where she meets Christianity because her emphasis here parallels Christian thought. The greatest commandment according to Jesus Christ was to look after yourself first by loving God totally and then to look after your neighbor. While some people might object and want to place a huge emphasis on looking after their neighbors, these people should remember that Jesus made loving your neighbor a command and not a suggestion.
What about Mexico? Consider this blurb from the BBC today:
Insecurity dominates the lives of millions of Mexicans. Caught between the murderous drug cartels and absent or corrupt law enforcement, communities are taking the law into their own hands. In the state of Guerrero, a fledgling vigilante force has grown into an organization numbering thousands.
Here we see the human condition in all of its glory and gloom. Some people are so bent on being criminals that no government can stop them. Other people are so bent on being free that they risk their own lives to stop the criminals. People are both great and terrible. Sometimes a single person can be both!
Thatcher surely knew this and felt personal responsibility was the key to a properly functioning society. The Mexicans are seeing this and feel there is no way to have a good society without some people actively looking to enforce the laws without corruption.
Good luck to them!
In the midst of all of the news this week there is an interesting item about Mars. Here on Planet Earth there are wars, conflicts, bombings, starvation, economic woes, deaths, funerals and tragedies. And yet someone is still exploring!
Want to go to Mars? Dutch organization Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet.
Isn’t that amazing? Were it not for my wife and four children, I would be thoroughly interested in going! Here is this fascinating view of humanity though. Despite all of the problems on the planet, people still hope for more. People still want to push themselves to explore, to be creative and to break new ground.
At the bottom of the human soul is hope.