Thursday, November 19, 2009
Vaclav Klaus has a website where his speeches are recorded, in English. They are well worth it. While our own politicians spend their time lying, or spinning as they call it, about issues of titanic insignificance he speaks, as somebody who has seen freedom, dictatorship, honesty, lies, competence & parasitism in government & recognises both the difference & the importance of knowing the difference. One of the great things about the net is that we can see the thoughts & opinions of politicians & political movements which our national MSM would rather we didn't.
This is part of a speech he made a few days ago at the Reform Club in London about the collapse of communism, which he puts down to its total economic & moral failure, & clearly sees the same happening again. Can anyone imagine David Cameron saying this?:
To my great regret, our development in the last 20 years was not linear, going in one direction only. The first post-communist decade can be characterized as an “uphill” movement – more freedom, more democracy, more market economy, less state intervention, less regulation. In the fundamental equation: citizen vs. state, we had been moving towards the free citizen, away from the state and its masterminding of society. Socialism (or social democratism) was in retreat, the role of new collectivistic “isms”, such as environmentalism, was not yet as dominant as it is now.
This has, however, dramatically changed. The now ending second post-communist decade has been quite different. We have been moving into the opposite direction: downhill. Now, we experience less freedom, more regulation, more manipulation of people in the name of all kinds of politically correct ambitions, post-democracy instead of democracy, growing disbelief in markets. Social democratism and environmentalism are on the winning side. “Market economy” practically disappeared, we got a “social and ecological market economy” instead.
This shift has been made more profound by the current financial and economic crisis. As we all know, the crisis will sooner or later be over, but the real damage caused by the crisis will, I am afraid, stay with us for a long time. The adversaries of the market have again managed to spread a far-reaching distrust in the existing economic system, but this time it is not the mistrust in the free market capitalism, in the laissez-faire system, in the capitalism of Adam Smith, Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, as it was the case 70 – 80 years ago. It is now the mistrust in the highly regulated capitalism of the second half of the 20th century. We have an interpretation crisis. The adversaries of free markets claim that for the last decades we have had a laissez-faire market-place. If they were right, the problems of today are due to laissez-faire, but they are not.
We should consider it our duty to fight against the newly rediscovered belief in the state, against the “second-generation” Keynesianism we see around us these days. We must not allow the repetition of the 1930s and the decades that followed. We must limit, not expand government interventions into the market