... 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, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation.In the end, however, Thatcherism appears to have been a failure. The central goal was to roll back the state, but this did not happen.
Taxes also did not sustainably fall under Thatcher. In fact, taxes grew at first, then fell back, and grew again under Major.
|Tax receipts % GDP|
Perhaps if Thatcher had not been elected, the state would have got even bigger. But Thatcherism did not make it smaller. I also doubt that the state regulated less in 1997 than it did in 1979, although surely that was true in some areas. In that sense the fundamental goal was not achieved.
Some key state companies were privatised. Few sensible people would reverse that decision. However, that agenda has little room to go further. Although choice and competition may be introduced into health and education, they will not be privatised, for probably sound reasons.
All of which means that the Thatcherite agenda must have been mistaken in some way. (Many, many people think it was mistaken in its goals; I mean that it was mistaken in the means it chose.) Conservatives who still support the basic libertarian goals must now find new ways to achieve them.
(By the way, here is Deirdre McCloskey on fine form explaining why you might want to support those basic goals. There is even more of this in her book The Bourgeois Virtues.)