“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony”

Posted: April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Consider the following hypothetical scenario: Let’s say Hitler, seeing the writing on the wall, surrenders on the condition that he is allowed to live out the rest of his life under arrest but in relative comfort. The Allies agree, and so Hitler surrenders. 

When Hitler eventually dies in his eighties, obituaries appear praising the way he took the German economy from the rampant inflation of the Weimar Republic. Thanks to Hitler, write many, both East and West Germany now have strong economies. Mention is made of his controversial “final solution” being controversial, but thanks to his reforms, the Jewish bankers are no longer strangling the economy and…

Ok, Maggie Thatcher is not Hitler. And most will say this is not the same. I agree. But if one should be generous not speak ill of the dead, at what point does the praise heaped become offensive to those who suffered because of the person’s actions. At what point does it become reasonable to stand up and say this is not true. This person was a monster and should not have their past whitewashed like this. 

Sure, in Hitler’s it’s easy.  Maggie’s mate Pinochet, Pol Pot or any other murderous dictator we can understand someone presenting an alternative eulogy to their supporters. But what of the leaders who were just responsible for deaths because a war we didn’t need to have, or a failing health system. At what point do you say, a death is a death and it shouldn’t be politicised.

Personally, I’ve always thought that John Donne said it best with:


“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.” 

But perhaps, Maggie herself should be given the final word: 

“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.

  1. silkworm says:

    When Thatcher said there was no such thing as society, she was just repeating what Ayn Rand said.

  2. And when she said, “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony,” she was quoting St Frances of Assisi.

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