Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vaclav Klaus: Czech Republic President To Take Turn At EU President

This is rich. Vaclav is a free market guy and strong skeptic of the frothy global warming scare tactics. He has famously called Al Gore the “apostle of arrogance.”

The New York Times article is here.

PRAGUE — In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus’s now famous arrogance.

“His behavior and attitudes reveal that he feels like a rejected genius,” the agent noted in his report, which has since been made public. “He shows that whoever does not agree with his views is stupid and incompetent.”

My favorite quote: “Klaus is a provocateur who will twist his arguments to get attention,” said Jiri Pehe, a former adviser to Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus’s rival and predecessor as president." Hmmm, pot meet kettle.

Like many people who grew up in a communist country, the cool factor of Marxist ideas and enforcers like Che and Uncle Joe is quite low.

Those who know Mr. Klaus say his economic liberalism is an outgrowth of his upbringing. Born in 1941, he obtained an economics degree in 1963 and was deeply influenced by free market economists like Milton Friedman.

Mr. Klaus’s son and namesake, Vaclav, recalled in an interview that when he was 13, his father told him to read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to better understand Communism’s oppressiveness.

“If you lived under communism, then you are very sensitive to forces that try to control or limit human liberty,” he said in an interview.

After Vaclav, I'll wager the EU will find a way to end the rotating presidency thing.

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