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From Czech playwright Vaclav Havel’s 1978 samizdat essay The Power of the Powerless on how the “post-totalitarian” system works:

{4} The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? …

{5} I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

{6} Obviously the greengrocer . . . does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

{7} Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

{8} Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. … It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. . . .

{9} The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; … Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. …

{10} Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system. . . . .

{11} Why in fact did our greengrocer have to put his loyalty on display in the shop window? Had he not already displayed it sufficiently in various internal or semipublic ways? …

{12} It seems senseless to require the greengrocer to declare his loyalty publicly. But it makes sense nevertheless. People ignore his slogan, but they do so because such slogans are also found in other shop windows, on lampposts, bulletin boards, in apartment windows, and on buildings; they are everywhere, in fact. They form part of the panorama of everyday life. Of course, while they ignore the details, people are very aware of that panorama as a whole. And what else is the greengrocer’s slogan but a small component in that huge backdrop to daily life?

{13} The greengrocer had to put the slogan in his window, therefore, not in the hope that someone might read it or be persuaded by it, but to contribute, along with thousands of other slogans, to the panorama that everyone is very much aware of. This panorama, of course, has a subliminal meaning as well: it reminds people where they are living and what is expected of them. It tells them what everyone else is doing, and indicates to them what they must do as well, if they don’t want to be excluded, to fall into isolation, alienate themselves from society, break the rules of the game, and risk the loss of their peace and tranquility and security. . . .

{14} Let us now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth. . . .

{15} The bill is not long in coming. He will be relieved of his post as manager of the shop and transferred to the warehouse. His pay will be reduced. His hopes for a holiday in Bulgaria will evaporate. His children’s access to higher education will be threatened. His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. Most of those who apply these sanctions, however, will not do so from any authentic inner conviction but simply under pressure from conditions, the same conditions that once pressured the greengrocer to display the official slogans. They will persecute the greengrocer either because it is expected of them, or to demonstrate their loyalty, or simply as part of the general panorama, to which belongs an awareness that this is how situations of this sort are dealt with, that this, in fact, is how things are always done, particularly if one is not to become suspect oneself. The executors, therefore, behave essentially like everyone else, to a greater or lesser degree: as components of the post-totalitarian system, as agents of its automatism, as petty instruments of the social auto-totality.

{16} Thus the power structure, through the agency of those who carry out the sanctions, those anonymous components of the system, will spew the greengrocer from its mouth. The system, through its alienating presence in people, will punish him for his rebellion. It must do so because the logic of its automatism and self-defense dictate it. The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted facade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth. Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can co-exist with living within the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety. . . .

 
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  1. Victor says:

    When Roosevelt passed the NIRA, companies were encouraged to put a “Blue Eagle” on their products to indicate their support for the legislation.

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  2. Jeff W. says:

    Havel’s successor as Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, has recently been declared persona non grata by the Cato Institute.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/22/vaclav-klaus-libertarian-hero-has-his-wings-clipped-by-cato-institute.html

    Excerpt: “The alleged reason for the split is the former Czech leader’s slavish defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as his hostility to homosexuality and cozying up to figures on the European far right.”

    Cato Institute libertarians don’t want none of that nationalism or anti-homosexualism. And it doesn’t matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.
    , @snorlax
    "Anti-Communist hero"?

    Klaus studied what was then called "economics of foreign trade" and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963. He also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and at Cornell University in the United States in 1969. He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the State Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which, according to his autobiography, he was forced[citation needed] to leave in 1970.

    However, he soon obtained a position in the Czechoslovak State Bank, where he held various staff positions from 1971 to 1986. It was reported that he obtained a limited permission to travel mainly to so-called socialist foreign countries. This might have been a small privilege at that time.[9] In 1987, Klaus joined the Institute for Prognostics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
     
    What heroics!

    Klaus is currently the most hated man in the Czech Republic for his ludicrously corrupt presidential administration.
    , @HA
    "...it doesn’t matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom."

    Ach, yet another attempt to portray Putin and his supporters as victims of irrational prejudice and hypocrisy falls to pieces under closer inspection.

    Maybe the Putin-oids and the compus-rape hysterians should get together and swap notes about the difficulties of squaring reality with their respective higher truths.
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  3. Jack D says:

    Nowadays the person who lets slip a “racist” or “sexist” remark is like Havel’s greengrocer who has stopped putting up slogans:

    ” He will be relieved of his post…. His pay will be reduced. …. His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. ”

    Does any of this sound familiar ? Derbyshire, Summers, the lady who tweeted the joke about AIDS, etc.

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows “DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH”. But God help you if you say anything inconsistent with the dogma.

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    • Replies: @Esso
    "O*******u honors human dignity and promotes diversity, and condemns discrimination and intolerance of all kinds."

    "K**E employees have the right to a safe, healthy working
    environment where discrimination is prohibited and personal
    well-being promoted. Diversity is important to us."

    "In 2013, females made up 17% of the members of management teams. K**E’s target is 20%." (13% females overall)

    Of course, they are not REQUIRED to put this kind of stuff on their websites.

    I wonder if the Czech system was more efficient in generating and distributing the material.
    , @Gilbert Ratchet
    Ya think? Do you REALLY believe that was what Sailer was hoping that we'd take from this?
    , @Gunnar von Cowtown

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows...
     
    No, but something like this is required on the "Careers" section of every corporate/government website.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    Find out how Name_of_Corporation makes diversity a priority.

    Name_of_Corporation is a company where every voice is heard and valued. We understand the importance of associates with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Creating an inclusive culture where everyone is challenged, appreciated, respected and engaged is important because only then will we truly understand the unique needs of all of our customers.

     

    .... and for the exact same reasons Mr. Havel enumerated.
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  4. @Jeff W.
    Havel's successor as Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, has recently been declared persona non grata by the Cato Institute.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/22/vaclav-klaus-libertarian-hero-has-his-wings-clipped-by-cato-institute.html

    Excerpt: "The alleged reason for the split is the former Czech leader’s slavish defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as his hostility to homosexuality and cozying up to figures on the European far right."

    Cato Institute libertarians don't want none of that nationalism or anti-homosexualism. And it doesn't matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom.

    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

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    • Replies: @countenance
    You sorta took the words out of my mouth. Only except I'd rather be associated with Putin than Cato eight days out of seven every week. Let me see, a courageous patriotic leader who is trying to do right by his people and save his country on the one hand, or an obnoxious destructive unwanted irrelevant ideological cult on the other hand. Hmmm, let me take a millisecond to think that one over.
    , @Superman

    Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia
     
    Whiskey has a new handle!
    , @Hunsdon
    Peter, perhaps it is not so much a matter of agreeing with Putin's economic policies, or his free market credentials. Perhaps Klaus simply thinks Putin is not the villain in the current Ukraine kerfluffle; perhaps its not a matter of ideological affinity at all.
    , @Max
    "self-respecting libertarian"

    lolololololololol
    , @Stan D Mute
    self-respecting libertarian


    Well that's an oxymoron isn't it? Where are these self-respecting libertarians? All I seem to find are multi-culti cheerleaders who are just mystified about why negroes don't exhibit outward signs of intelligence and who think unlimited immigration from countries stuck in the Neolithic will lead to prosperity. They claim free markets and free enterprise are the greatest but that no businessman has the right to choose his customers.

    I once thought myself a libertarian but outgrew that phase when I saw they were incapable of distinguishing between Germany and Gambia or America and Angola. The functional prospect of libertarianism ends where diversity begins.
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  5. b. says:

    there is a great divide here in czechoslovakia about this man. to go into detail would require several blogposts on different topics, and I’m not aware of a good summary in english(true, I didn’t look either). suffice to say that most of his staff was composed of former stasi officers and communists and his writing was mediocre at best. I am not aware of any original concepts or thoughts by him. He usually just ripped off some older russians or…samuel beckett(which I must say, I don’t hold in high regard).what he said right, was obviously right(usually this ‘n that freedom is good m’kay, soviets are bad m’kay)he’s very overrated, is what I’m trying to say.
    let’s just say that here, you are either a havlovite or klausovite(V.Klaus), and it’s really a no contest for me and many in the academia and among the conservative public.

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  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    This resonates in our 2015 USA world. We all know what can’t be said in much the same way as the green grocer. We are all too timid to step over the limits of what our PC leaders have declared blasphemous.

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  7. Harold says:

    He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth. . . .

    The bill is not long in coming.

    At least I have my dignity, Steve says, while drinking out of a Big Red Cup.

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  8. […] Source: Steve Sailer […]

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  9. Esso says:
    @Jack D
    Nowadays the person who lets slip a "racist" or "sexist" remark is like Havel's greengrocer who has stopped putting up slogans:

    " He will be relieved of his post.... His pay will be reduced. .... His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. "

    Does any of this sound familiar ? Derbyshire, Summers, the lady who tweeted the joke about AIDS, etc.

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows "DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH". But God help you if you say anything inconsistent with the dogma.

    “O*******u honors human dignity and promotes diversity, and condemns discrimination and intolerance of all kinds.”

    “K**E employees have the right to a safe, healthy working
    environment where discrimination is prohibited and personal
    well-being promoted. Diversity is important to us.”

    “In 2013, females made up 17% of the members of management teams. K**E’s target is 20%.” (13% females overall)

    Of course, they are not REQUIRED to put this kind of stuff on their websites.

    I wonder if the Czech system was more efficient in generating and distributing the material.

    Read More
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  10. PA says:

    As I also mentioned on Heartiste’s when somebody posted the Vaclav Havel link, we are living exactly through what Eastern Europeans experienced with Communism.

    All of this already happened, just change the place and the specifics of the theatrics. There is a wealth of knowledge that’s relevant to our times in the writings of Vaclav Havel, Milan Kundera, Czeslaw Milosz, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and many others. Westerners should read them, as this specie of totalitarianism is outside the West’s experience. For instance, take a look at Zbigniew Herbert’s poem “The Power of Taste” to see our present regime’s lessons-learned from Bolshevism and for clues to how it may still ultimately unravel.

    If there is a key difference between Soviet/EE communism and the contemporary American one, it’s that the current western version was much more subtle about the Terror phase of the revolution. While Lenin and Stalin were unapologetically mass-murdering and deporting people, Americans (which incudes America’s eager vassals in Western Europe and the anglosphere) are doing it with a smiley face. And the results — how do you rate Lubyanka vs Rotherdam? or East Berlin vs Detroit?

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  11. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    {15} The bill is not long in coming. He will be relieved of his post as manager of the shop and transferred to the warehouse</blockquote

    In the US the person would be transferred to the street corner.

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  12. snorlax says:
    @Jeff W.
    Havel's successor as Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, has recently been declared persona non grata by the Cato Institute.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/22/vaclav-klaus-libertarian-hero-has-his-wings-clipped-by-cato-institute.html

    Excerpt: "The alleged reason for the split is the former Czech leader’s slavish defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as his hostility to homosexuality and cozying up to figures on the European far right."

    Cato Institute libertarians don't want none of that nationalism or anti-homosexualism. And it doesn't matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom.

    “Anti-Communist hero”?

    Klaus studied what was then called “economics of foreign trade” and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963. He also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and at Cornell University in the United States in 1969. He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the State Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which, according to his autobiography, he was forced[citation needed] to leave in 1970.

    However, he soon obtained a position in the Czechoslovak State Bank, where he held various staff positions from 1971 to 1986. It was reported that he obtained a limited permission to travel mainly to so-called socialist foreign countries. This might have been a small privilege at that time.[9] In 1987, Klaus joined the Institute for Prognostics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

    What heroics!

    Klaus is currently the most hated man in the Czech Republic for his ludicrously corrupt presidential administration.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    I was just about to mention Klaus's suspicious background. He's been close to the Russians from the communist days right up to the present - his recent book on global warming was originally paid for by Lukoil.
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  13. Weird. Just reading about Havel’s greengrocer in a Tony Judt book yesterday–never heard of it before–and now this. Sometimes I think that isteve is a giant, sentient brain pulsing at the center of the multiuniverse, simultaneously perceiving and commentating upon all that exists. What else could account for the synchronicity effect which is a constant feature of this blog?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Sometimes I think that isteve is a giant, sentient brain pulsing at the center of the multiuniverse, simultaneously perceiving and commentating upon all that exists."

    Dude, you're freaking me out...you mean all this time, iSteve was supposed to be something other than that?
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  14. countenance says: • Website
    @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

    You sorta took the words out of my mouth. Only except I’d rather be associated with Putin than Cato eight days out of seven every week. Let me see, a courageous patriotic leader who is trying to do right by his people and save his country on the one hand, or an obnoxious destructive unwanted irrelevant ideological cult on the other hand. Hmmm, let me take a millisecond to think that one over.

    Read More
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  15. There were a lot of real Communists in Czechoslovakia for a while. A plurality of 38% of the electorate voted for the Communist Party in the 1946 election. (The next largest party received only 18% of the votes.)

    Much of the population was employed in industry and mining, and so the labor unions were strong.

    The country was ethnically troubled — Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Jews, Hungarians — whereas the Communists preached international solidarity.

    The Soviet Union was perceived to be a liberator and defender of Czechoslovakia in regard to Germany.

    So, at least a third of the population really supported the Communist government until the mid-1960s. The schools and mass media indoctrinated the country’s baby-boom generation.

    Even after the Soviet Union’s military suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, there were plenty of real Communists to rule the country.

    The Communists were discredited gradually by economic stagnation. Neighboring Austria — a country of about the same size, natural resources and culture — prospered more and more. The essential difference between the two countries was communism versus capitalism.

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  16. Superman says:
    @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

    Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia

    Whiskey has a new handle!

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  17. Hunsdon says:
    @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

    Peter, perhaps it is not so much a matter of agreeing with Putin’s economic policies, or his free market credentials. Perhaps Klaus simply thinks Putin is not the villain in the current Ukraine kerfluffle; perhaps its not a matter of ideological affinity at all.

    Read More
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  18. Max says: • Website
    @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

    “self-respecting libertarian”

    lolololololololol

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  19. @Jack D
    Nowadays the person who lets slip a "racist" or "sexist" remark is like Havel's greengrocer who has stopped putting up slogans:

    " He will be relieved of his post.... His pay will be reduced. .... His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. "

    Does any of this sound familiar ? Derbyshire, Summers, the lady who tweeted the joke about AIDS, etc.

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows "DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH". But God help you if you say anything inconsistent with the dogma.

    Ya think? Do you REALLY believe that was what Sailer was hoping that we’d take from this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    That's more or less what I got out of it, although Havel is, of course, infinitely more articulate than I could hope to be.

    Always admired the Czechs. There is an antinomian spirit in that nation which persists from the defenestration of Prague to this day. Remember the Czech 'Entropa' project? It was supposed to be made by artists from the different European countries, but instead had Legos for Denmark, France covered by a strike banner, Romania had Dracula, Sweden as an Ikea box, and the German one had a Germany-shaped pattern of highways that looked somewhat like a cross, and somewhat like...something else.
    , @Jack D
    Yes, it's bleedin' obvious, but yet most Americans don't see it yet - as far as they are concerned, we still live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We are nothing like those poor Communist zhlubs who had to toe the Party Line or risk losing everything.

    In the NY Times piece about the woman whose career was destroyed over a poorly thought out joke tweet, there was another fellow mentioned who was telling a "sexist" joke privately to a friend (something about a "big dongle") and was overheard and lost his job as a result. He had a wife and kids to support and he said that when he was fired he went to his car and cried. It was heartbreaking that this could happen in America and the woman who outed him gloated triumphantly. This is not the America I grew up in.
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  20. GFC says:

    Havel’s last paragraph, #16 about the greengrocer’s power in powerlessness, recalls the Waldgänger of Ernst Jünger.

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  21. Whiskey says: • Website

    Anyone who thinks Putin is anything but a Kleptocratic thug has to stay off those Nigerian emails. Next you’ll tell me — this is a good one — that Mr. Rolex Icon himself, Martin Luther King Jr, wrote his own doctoral thesis, was a man of peace, and wanted only to reform America, not make a buck.

    That being said, Diversity ends Ideology. Put Western peoples side by side with Africans or Middle East or South Asian Muslims, and you get tribe not ideology. People vs. People. The War in the Pacific was brutal because it was racial. The Japanese did horrible things to our POWs and any White with the bad fortune to fall into their hands including civilians. They did even worse things to Filipinos, the Chinese, and Indonesians. And got firebombed and nuked in return.

    Diversity ends any ideological question. The only thing in people’s minds is” will the leader protect me from Hassan or M’bala down the street who want to kill me and take my stuff?”

    And here failure by the leader to protect will only provoke other would-be leaders to take power. And go full Milosevic. There isn’t much ideology in the Balkans. Or Iraq.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    Did Whiskey just say . . . tribal?
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  22. @Jack D
    Nowadays the person who lets slip a "racist" or "sexist" remark is like Havel's greengrocer who has stopped putting up slogans:

    " He will be relieved of his post.... His pay will be reduced. .... His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. "

    Does any of this sound familiar ? Derbyshire, Summers, the lady who tweeted the joke about AIDS, etc.

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows "DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH". But God help you if you say anything inconsistent with the dogma.

    The only difference at this point is that we are not yet REQUIRED to post slogans in our shop windows…

    No, but something like this is required on the “Careers” section of every corporate/government website.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    Find out how Name_of_Corporation makes diversity a priority.

    Name_of_Corporation is a company where every voice is heard and valued. We understand the importance of associates with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Creating an inclusive culture where everyone is challenged, appreciated, respected and engaged is important because only then will we truly understand the unique needs of all of our customers.

    …. and for the exact same reasons Mr. Havel enumerated.

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  23. SFG says:
    @Gilbert Ratchet
    Ya think? Do you REALLY believe that was what Sailer was hoping that we'd take from this?

    That’s more or less what I got out of it, although Havel is, of course, infinitely more articulate than I could hope to be.

    Always admired the Czechs. There is an antinomian spirit in that nation which persists from the defenestration of Prague to this day. Remember the Czech ‘Entropa’ project? It was supposed to be made by artists from the different European countries, but instead had Legos for Denmark, France covered by a strike banner, Romania had Dracula, Sweden as an Ikea box, and the German one had a Germany-shaped pattern of highways that looked somewhat like a cross, and somewhat like…something else.

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  24. @Peter Akuleyev
    It is hard to see how any self-respecting libertarian could champion a statist like Putin. Obama has better free market credentials than Putin. So does the Chinese Communist Party. Putin may be good at military invasions, but he has created an economic disaster for Russia since he became President again. If Klaus values nationalism over libertarian principles, that is his prerogative, but I understand why Cato would not want to be associated with him.

    self-respecting libertarian

    Well that’s an oxymoron isn’t it? Where are these self-respecting libertarians? All I seem to find are multi-culti cheerleaders who are just mystified about why negroes don’t exhibit outward signs of intelligence and who think unlimited immigration from countries stuck in the Neolithic will lead to prosperity. They claim free markets and free enterprise are the greatest but that no businessman has the right to choose his customers.

    I once thought myself a libertarian but outgrew that phase when I saw they were incapable of distinguishing between Germany and Gambia or America and Angola. The functional prospect of libertarianism ends where diversity begins.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Well that’s an oxymoron isn’t it? Where are these self-respecting libertarians?
     
    In retirement homes. You could read the Poole-era Reason in public. You need a paper bag for the Gillespie version.
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  25. Jack D says:
    @Gilbert Ratchet
    Ya think? Do you REALLY believe that was what Sailer was hoping that we'd take from this?

    Yes, it’s bleedin’ obvious, but yet most Americans don’t see it yet – as far as they are concerned, we still live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We are nothing like those poor Communist zhlubs who had to toe the Party Line or risk losing everything.

    In the NY Times piece about the woman whose career was destroyed over a poorly thought out joke tweet, there was another fellow mentioned who was telling a “sexist” joke privately to a friend (something about a “big dongle”) and was overheard and lost his job as a result. He had a wife and kids to support and he said that when he was fired he went to his car and cried. It was heartbreaking that this could happen in America and the woman who outed him gloated triumphantly. This is not the America I grew up in.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mike Sylwester

    In the NY Times piece about the woman whose career was destroyed over a poorly thought out joke tweet, there was another fellow mentioned who was telling a “sexist” joke privately to a friend (something about a “big dongle”) and was overheard and lost his job as a result. He had a wife and kids to support and he said that when he was fired he went to his car and cried.
     
    This reminds me of the novel The Joke by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Joke_(novel)
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  26. @Jack D
    Yes, it's bleedin' obvious, but yet most Americans don't see it yet - as far as they are concerned, we still live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We are nothing like those poor Communist zhlubs who had to toe the Party Line or risk losing everything.

    In the NY Times piece about the woman whose career was destroyed over a poorly thought out joke tweet, there was another fellow mentioned who was telling a "sexist" joke privately to a friend (something about a "big dongle") and was overheard and lost his job as a result. He had a wife and kids to support and he said that when he was fired he went to his car and cried. It was heartbreaking that this could happen in America and the woman who outed him gloated triumphantly. This is not the America I grew up in.

    In the NY Times piece about the woman whose career was destroyed over a poorly thought out joke tweet, there was another fellow mentioned who was telling a “sexist” joke privately to a friend (something about a “big dongle”) and was overheard and lost his job as a result. He had a wife and kids to support and he said that when he was fired he went to his car and cried.

    This reminds me of the novel The Joke by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Joke_(novel)

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  27. Svigor says:

    He does a good job of getting at what I’m always saying about how liberalism must always strive toward hegemony and complete control of The Narrative. Live and Let Live is inimical to leftism.

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  28. Svigor says:

    They claim free markets and free enterprise are the greatest but that no businessman has the right to choose his customers.

    This. And so pithy!

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  29. @Stan D Mute
    self-respecting libertarian


    Well that's an oxymoron isn't it? Where are these self-respecting libertarians? All I seem to find are multi-culti cheerleaders who are just mystified about why negroes don't exhibit outward signs of intelligence and who think unlimited immigration from countries stuck in the Neolithic will lead to prosperity. They claim free markets and free enterprise are the greatest but that no businessman has the right to choose his customers.

    I once thought myself a libertarian but outgrew that phase when I saw they were incapable of distinguishing between Germany and Gambia or America and Angola. The functional prospect of libertarianism ends where diversity begins.

    Well that’s an oxymoron isn’t it? Where are these self-respecting libertarians?

    In retirement homes. You could read the Poole-era Reason in public. You need a paper bag for the Gillespie version.

    Read More
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  30. Matra says:
    @snorlax
    "Anti-Communist hero"?

    Klaus studied what was then called "economics of foreign trade" and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963. He also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and at Cornell University in the United States in 1969. He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the State Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which, according to his autobiography, he was forced[citation needed] to leave in 1970.

    However, he soon obtained a position in the Czechoslovak State Bank, where he held various staff positions from 1971 to 1986. It was reported that he obtained a limited permission to travel mainly to so-called socialist foreign countries. This might have been a small privilege at that time.[9] In 1987, Klaus joined the Institute for Prognostics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
     
    What heroics!

    Klaus is currently the most hated man in the Czech Republic for his ludicrously corrupt presidential administration.

    I was just about to mention Klaus’s suspicious background. He’s been close to the Russians from the communist days right up to the present – his recent book on global warming was originally paid for by Lukoil.

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  31. Hipster says:

    Reading Scott Atran’s “In Gods We Trust” this sounds very much like the author’s explanation of why religions require public sacrifices and oaths to plainly nonsensical false beliefs.

    Everyone must believe, honestly and truly, that God or The Gods are watching over him. In this way, you assure order and a harmonious society. Therefore, you require hard-to-fake, expensive displays of devotion to the nonsensical world of God or Gods. It must be costly to individuals, and a cost that cannot be recouped. In that way an individual shows his loyalty to the whole and can generally be trusted to be an upstanding member of the community and can expect to receive help from the community.

    This is likely why places like North Korea an the Soveit Union develop cults of personality around their leaders, making them seem more mystical and god-like, trying to replace actual supernatural gods.

    Works less well when you’re just serving a bureaucracy, no after life in paradise being promised.

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  32. On Vaclav Klaus: a number of years ago, Vaclav Havel had occasion to apologize for the expulsion of the German population of Czechoslovakia at the end of the Second World War, while Klaus ostentatiously refused to do so. Post-World War I Czechoslovakia had three and half million Germans, in the Sudetenland and elsewhere, out of a population of about twelve million. There were more Germans than Slovaks in the country. Resistance movements existed throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, but not in the Czech lands. As the Wehrmacht withdrew, however, the Czechs found their virility. The Germans who weren’t outright murdered were driven out, with many thousands of deaths. The reasons the Cato Institute gives for its hostility to Klaus may be wrong, but he is no “lifelong champion of human freedom.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    There is still some anti-German sentiment. In the last election the socialists used it against the conservative candidate Karel Schwarzenburg and his non-Czech speaking Austrian wife. The socialists won, largely thanks to economic issues and the unsophisticated small town voters. Since winning the socialist president Milos Zeman has shocked and disgusted many in the country by taking a pro-Russian line on the Ukraine crisis. It goes without saying his former conservative rival Vaclav Klaus - anti-communist hero to some here - suddenly supported the socialist Zeman. It's funny how no matter what the politics, left or right, democratic or communist totalitarianism, Klaus always ends up on the Russian side.
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  33. george says:

    Are the green grocers in the Czech Republic actually Czech these days?

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    • Replies: @Matra
    In Prague, particularly the central areas, a lot of the small shopkeepers are Gypsies or east Asians. I think the latter are Vietnamese.
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  34. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Another Eastern Block icon who refuses to hang the proverbial sign in his produce shop:

    ‘Lech Walesa refuses to apologize for homophobic remarks’

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/05/world/europe/poland-walesa-anti-gay/

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  35. Obviously, there are innumerable similarities to EE under communism and our situation today. However, one question that I have for others is just how pervasive the belief in the communist ideology was in EE at the time. I have found that the vast majority of my neighbors and colleagues truly do believe in the our “diversity and equality” ideology.

    Yes, they act as though they don’t believe it with their choices in spouses, friends, neighborhoods, hires, schools, etc., which would make you think that if you quietly, but openly, disagree with the narrative, you’d get a lot of quick winks of approval. But, from my experience, most people really get upset when you challenge our society’s beliefs. And it’s not just fear of being associated with a heretic. They truly believe the narrative and don’t like you trashing it.

    Obviously, you’d think that this would lead to some serious cognitive dissonance in their heads, but they get around it. They simply claim to me – and themselves – that they are “colorblind” and all of their choices to associate with whites (and, to a degree, Asians) were just an odd coincidence. If they think about it at all, they are quite sure that blacks and Hispanics will do as well as whites and Asians just as soon as we find the right gov’t programs/eliminate racism (liberals) or give them the right incentives (conservatives). But the belief in equality is there.

    They are not the greengrocer.

    So, again, I find that most people today really are behind the system, where as I feel like most people in EE during communism knew that they system/ideology was wrong but they stayed in line out of fear.

    However, I don’t really know. If anyone has knowledge of how deep the believe in the communist system ran, I’d be interested to know.

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  36. Hunsdon says:
    @Whiskey
    Anyone who thinks Putin is anything but a Kleptocratic thug has to stay off those Nigerian emails. Next you'll tell me -- this is a good one -- that Mr. Rolex Icon himself, Martin Luther King Jr, wrote his own doctoral thesis, was a man of peace, and wanted only to reform America, not make a buck.

    That being said, Diversity ends Ideology. Put Western peoples side by side with Africans or Middle East or South Asian Muslims, and you get tribe not ideology. People vs. People. The War in the Pacific was brutal because it was racial. The Japanese did horrible things to our POWs and any White with the bad fortune to fall into their hands including civilians. They did even worse things to Filipinos, the Chinese, and Indonesians. And got firebombed and nuked in return.

    Diversity ends any ideological question. The only thing in people's minds is" will the leader protect me from Hassan or M'bala down the street who want to kill me and take my stuff?"

    And here failure by the leader to protect will only provoke other would-be leaders to take power. And go full Milosevic. There isn't much ideology in the Balkans. Or Iraq.

    Did Whiskey just say . . . tribal?

    Read More
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  37. Matra says:
    @george
    Are the green grocers in the Czech Republic actually Czech these days?

    In Prague, particularly the central areas, a lot of the small shopkeepers are Gypsies or east Asians. I think the latter are Vietnamese.

    Read More
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  38. Matra says:
    @Ralph Raico
    On Vaclav Klaus: a number of years ago, Vaclav Havel had occasion to apologize for the expulsion of the German population of Czechoslovakia at the end of the Second World War, while Klaus ostentatiously refused to do so. Post-World War I Czechoslovakia had three and half million Germans, in the Sudetenland and elsewhere, out of a population of about twelve million. There were more Germans than Slovaks in the country. Resistance movements existed throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, but not in the Czech lands. As the Wehrmacht withdrew, however, the Czechs found their virility. The Germans who weren't outright murdered were driven out, with many thousands of deaths. The reasons the Cato Institute gives for its hostility to Klaus may be wrong, but he is no "lifelong champion of human freedom."

    There is still some anti-German sentiment. In the last election the socialists used it against the conservative candidate Karel Schwarzenburg and his non-Czech speaking Austrian wife. The socialists won, largely thanks to economic issues and the unsophisticated small town voters. Since winning the socialist president Milos Zeman has shocked and disgusted many in the country by taking a pro-Russian line on the Ukraine crisis. It goes without saying his former conservative rival Vaclav Klaus – anti-communist hero to some here – suddenly supported the socialist Zeman. It’s funny how no matter what the politics, left or right, democratic or communist totalitarianism, Klaus always ends up on the Russian side.

    Read More
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  39. @anonymous-antiskynetist
    Weird. Just reading about Havel's greengrocer in a Tony Judt book yesterday--never heard of it before--and now this. Sometimes I think that isteve is a giant, sentient brain pulsing at the center of the multiuniverse, simultaneously perceiving and commentating upon all that exists. What else could account for the synchronicity effect which is a constant feature of this blog?

    “Sometimes I think that isteve is a giant, sentient brain pulsing at the center of the multiuniverse, simultaneously perceiving and commentating upon all that exists.”

    Dude, you’re freaking me out…you mean all this time, iSteve was supposed to be something other than that?

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  40. HA says:
    @Jeff W.
    Havel's successor as Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, has recently been declared persona non grata by the Cato Institute.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/22/vaclav-klaus-libertarian-hero-has-his-wings-clipped-by-cato-institute.html

    Excerpt: "The alleged reason for the split is the former Czech leader’s slavish defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as his hostility to homosexuality and cozying up to figures on the European far right."

    Cato Institute libertarians don't want none of that nationalism or anti-homosexualism. And it doesn't matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom.

    “…it doesn’t matter if you are an anti-communist hero and lifelong champion of human freedom.”

    Ach, yet another attempt to portray Putin and his supporters as victims of irrational prejudice and hypocrisy falls to pieces under closer inspection.

    Maybe the Putin-oids and the compus-rape hysterians should get together and swap notes about the difficulties of squaring reality with their respective higher truths.

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  41. Sandmich says:

    His hopes for a holiday in Bulgaria will evaporate.

    Well there’s always an upside!

    As well, the play here is not to publicly disagree but to carry the arguments of your oppressors to their logical extreme, such as putting out a shop sign that includes pleas to send those who do not think that the ‘workers should unite’ to gulags, etc., just land in that fuzzy area where they can’t tell if you’re trolling or not. Using the Internet makes great practice!

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  42. That was pretty much the greatest thing I’ve ever read. That is all.

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