26/09/2022
Texts in English
Speech at a meeting of the Identity and Democracy Group of the European Parliament in Prague


Many thanks for giving me a chance to address your today’s meeting. Many thanks for choosing Prague as the place for it.

I remember – with pleasure – receiving the European Freedom Award from your group at your meeting in Stockholm in November 2016. It was in the days when Swedish Democrats were still part of your group. When they left it, they succeeded in winning the Swedish parliamentary elections. Isn’t it a signal for some of you?

Let me touch very briefly on the results of yesterday’s Italian parliamentary elections. I am very pleased to congratulate the representatives of the Lega party, which forms a significant part of the winning coalition, on the electoral victory. I hope that you, together with Fratelli d'Italia and Forza Italia will form a strong and courageous Italian government. I believe its voice will be heard in Brussels. It is more than necessary.

I am glad my country is represented in your group by SPD (Ivan David, Hynek Blaško), a party I gave my vote to last weekend in the municipal elections. This party just erroneously “translated” the word democracy in the title of your group into Czech as “direct democracy”. I have my doubts about that.

As someone, who was born in the Nazi Protectorate of Böhmen und Mähren, who spent most of his life in communist Czechoslovakia, who – by being in top government and state positions immediately after the fall of communism – significantly influenced the historic transformation of the country from communism to free society and market economy and who is still alive and actively participates in the current debates and controversies, I have to say that I feel a deep frustration when looking at the current world.

We used to have, even in the communist era, very strong views on the following topics:
1. We wanted freedom and democracy, but what we experience these days is a post-democracy. The European Parliament is a prototype of it.
2. We wanted freedom of expression, but got a dictatorship of political correctness instead. As regards freedom of speech, we feel that its today’s quality is comparable with the last years of communism.
3. After spending long decades under Soviet imperialist rule, we wanted independence and sovereignty of our country, but got another version of a model of limited sovereignty, this time called European Union.
4. We wanted market economy. My well-known and often-quoted saying was “markets without adjectives”, but we live in a highly controlled and regulated “mixed economy”, which blocks economic growth and development.

These four systemic questions were the topics of our permanent debates in the communist era. Our transformation tried to solve them. We, therefore, concentrated on them, but in the last years entirely new problems emerged. For many of us more or less unexpectedly.

Where do I see the new challenges?
1. I see the disruptive effects of multiculturalism on the role and position of the nation state. It is more and more underestimated that the nation state – as European development in the last centuries demonstrates – is a cradle of and a prerequisite for political democracy. Multiculturalism is offensively directed against it. One of its offshoots is the irrational support of mass-migration. In the last days, it approaches the 2015 level again.

2. I follow – in disbelief – the disruptive consequences of – what I call – NGO-ism on the quality of the political system. The political parties, this unsubstituable precondition for parliamentary democracy, have been unrepeatably discredited and replaced by unelected political activists from various NGOs. Our municipal elections last weekend became the “vanity fair” of apolitism, of movements and groupings without any ideology

3. No one expected such a huge upsurge of the ideology of “cancel-culture” as we witness it in the last years. The achievements of our predecessors created over centuries and millennia are being radically and mercilessly discredited and sometimes destroyed. We are motivated to forget the past, and with it all our habits, traditions and ways of life. Some of us consider it an irreparable loss.

4. The ongoing shift from feminism to genderism has been changing the substance of human society. What looked like an extreme case or an excess has become a prevailing tendency. The massive questioning, if not denying the identity of men and women, which since eternity belonged among the constants of human society, represents a fatal blow to mankind.

5. I include among the main attacks on our Western society the ideology of human-rightism, the replacement of civic, basically negative rights by positive “human” rights. Human rights supress civic rights. This expresses the ambitions of the preachers of currently fashionable progressivism.

This is definitely not a closed list, many of us could make fundamental extensions to it. However, any one of them, and especially their synergic effect, fatally endangers Western society. I hope at least some of my worries are shared by your parliamentary group. If this is so, I am pleased.

Václav Klaus, speech at a meeting of the Identity and Democracy Group of the European Parliament, Grandium Hotel, Prague, September 26, 2022.


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