Today I read an Guardian article by Sunny Hundal on the (future) funeral of Margaret Thatcher, stating that for it to be privatized – that is “to be funded and managed by the private sector” – would “be a fitting tribute to her ideological legacy.” This comes from an e-petition by someone named Scott Morgan, who writes:
In keeping with the great lady’s legacy, Margaret Thatcher’s state funeral should be funded and managed by the private sector to offer the best value and choice for end users and other stakeholders. The undersigned believe that the legacy of the former PM deserves nothing less and that offering this unique opportunity is an ideal way to cut government expense and further prove the merits of liberalised economics Baroness Thatcher spearheaded.
Hundal’s account is a gross misinterpretation of Thatcher, and of people who consider themselves to be on the right, and not left, side of politics. But the most interesting part it this sentence from the article (emphasis added):
Neither Thatcher nor Reagan were enamoured with the state and its role in society. They wanted private companies to be able to reach into every party of our lives. So why not extend this privatisation experiment into the after-life?
First, I think it is unfair to compare Thatcher and Reagan. I find Thatcher a bit heartless, but I wouldn’t say that about Reagan. Second, notice the bolded part. Hundal presents this as Thatcher or Reagan (or ‘people like them’) wanting private companies to rule us and ‘reach into every party of our lives.’ Pardon my french, but that is total BS. Neither Thatcher nor Reagan nor myself is/was positively hoping for private companies to rule us. It is not a case of wanting them to ‘reach into every party of our lives.’ It is rather a case of not wanting the government to ‘reach into every party of our lives.’ The people should be allowed to decide for themselves, and have let the government as (more or very often less benign) rulers. The government should not be our rulers, but our servants.
So no, we (and I’m not agreeing with everything Thatcher did) do not want private companies to ‘reach into every party of our lives.’ But neither should the government. The only ones, besides God, who should ‘reach into every party of our lives’ is ourselves and, at most, our families.