Thatchers religiöse Erziehung und von der Gefahr Verantwortung an den Staat zu delegieren

Margaret Thatcher ist gestern offiziell bestattet worden. Der Volltext der Abdankungsrede ist auf dem Netz verfügbar. Darin wird auf die Vorlesung „I believe“ von Thatcher aus dem Jahr 1978 Bezug genommen. Sie erzählt darin grundlegendem Einfluss ihrer religiösen Erziehung:

So how does my religion affect my work as a politician? I was brought up, let me remind you, in a religious environment which, by the standards of today, would seem very rigid. We often went to Church twice on Sundays as well as to morning and afternoon Sunday School. We attended a number of Church activities during[fo 1] the week. We believed it was wrong to spend very much on personal pleasure. We were taught always to make up our own minds and never to take the easy way of following the crowd.

I suppose what this taught me above everything else was to see the temporal affairs of this world in perspective. What mattered fundamentally was Man’s relationship to God, and in the last resort this depended on the response of the individual soul to God’s Grace.

Die Perspektive prägte auch ihren politischen Verständnisrahmen:

Politics, when I began to think about them, seemed naturally important because they were one of the ways in which individuals could discharge that duty to their neighbours which God has enjoined on Mankind. They were also important because, though good institutions and laws cannot make men good, bad ones can encourage them to be a lot worse.

I never thought that Christianity equipped me with a political philosophy, but I thought it did equip me with standards to which political actions must, in the end, be referred. It also taught me that, in the final analysis, politics is about personal relations, about establishing the conditions in which men and women can best use their fleeting lives in this world to prepare themselves for the next.

Eindrücklich ist Thatchers Betonung der individuellen Verantwortung.

Of course it is true that all men of good will must be concerned with the relief of poverty and suffering, and in most Christian countries this has come to be regarded as one of the primary concerns of politicians.

But it is one thing to say that the relief of poverty and suffering is a duty and quite another to say that this duty can always be most efficiently and humanely performed by the State. Indeed, there are grave moral dangers and serious practical ones in letting people get away with the idea that they can delegate all their responsibilities to public officials and institutions. …

Once you give people the idea that all this can be done by the State, and that it is somehow second-best or even degrading to leave it to private people (it is sometimes referred to as “cold charity”) then you will begin to deprive human beings of one of the essential ingredients of humanity—personal moral responsibility.