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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Václav Havel and politics

Václav Havel (1936-2011) was a Czech politician who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003). The rest of this post is some quotes from Havel.




"I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than then military divisions." (Speech accepting peace prize, 1989)


"There can be no doubt that distrust of words is less harmful than unwarranted trust in them. Besides, to distrust words, and indict them for the horrors that might slumber unobtrusively within them - isn't this, after all, the true vocation of the intellectual? (Speech accepting peace prize, 1989)




"Despite all the political misery I am confronted with every day, it still is my profound conviction that the very essence of politics is not dirty; dirt is brought in only by wicked people... But it is not true at all that a politician cannot do without lying or intriguing. That is sheer nonsense, often spread by those who want to discourage people from taking an interest in public affairs." (International Herald Tribune, 1991)


"The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order." (The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World, 1994)


"It is clearly necessary to invent organizational structures appropriate to the present multicultural age. But such efforts are doomed to failure if they do not grow out of something deeper, out of generally held values." (The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World, 1994)


"We introduced a new model of behavior: don't get involved in diffuse general ideological polemics with the center, to whom numerous concrete causes are always being sacrificed... In other words, don't get mixed up in backroom wheeling and dealing, but play an open game." (Disturbing the Peace, 1986)


"The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both." (Disturbing the Peace, 1986)