Vaclav Havel Was a Champion of Freedom

December 18th, 2011 at 3:21 pm | 9 Comments |

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Vaclav Havel has died. I did not spend time on his plays but read his essays avidly. He was a great hero of the free. One of the things I admired about him, as noted in this piece, is his disregard for his own crowd’s leftist pieties. He never ceased to criticize Castro and Cuba for the elimination of human rights and self-government. He also supported the removal of the tyrant Saddam Hussein.

His greatest impact is on Central Europe. Not only did he become the last President of Czechloslovakia but the first of the Czech Republic. The Velvet separation of those two slavic nations contrasts vividly with the Yugoslav experience. It is rare that poets succeed in statecraft but the transition from Communism to freedom, from one Republic to two, and from the Warsaw Pact to Nato was not easy and was more likely to go awry than to succeed. He had a hand in each. Of the greatest champions of free men in the 80′s only Walesa and Thatcher yet live. There were giants in those days.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • rbottoms

    Did he support the massive clusterf*ck George Bush made of the removal of Saddam Hussein?

  • Graychin

    Thatcher wasn’t in the same league as Walesa and Havel. Not even close. It’s a shame for you to corrupt a tribute to a great man with such stupid ideology.

    To the extent that Havel supported Bush’s misadventure in Iraq, it just goes to show that even great men can be wrong sometimes.

  • kwipster

    I must say that I am very disappointed in this so-called “tribute”. Mr. Frum praises Mr. Havel by saying how he condemned Castro and how he disregarded his own crowd’s leftist pieties and that in Mr Frum’s mind somehow makes Mr. Havel a “great hero of the free”. Mr. Havel was a great leader of the free, but you, Mr. Frum disrespect Mr. Havel by twisting the legacy of a man who was ardently committed to a philosophy grounded in the Left. If you were truly sincere in your tribute you would have focused on the man and his accomplishments without trying to appropriate his accomplishments and grotesquely remolding them to fit somehow with the Right.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      Would you seriously prefer that Havel had PRAISED Castro?

      What morally serious person could possibly do so?

      • kwipster

        I would not seriously, or otherwise prefer Mr. Havel to have praised Castro, but it does not follow from the sentence that there is any preference to praising.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      David Frum isn’t the author of this obituary. That would be Mr. John Vecchione, hence its deplorable and dishonest hackery.

      • kwipster

        Thank you for pointing out that Mr. Frum is not the author. I wonder what responsibility Mr. Frum has for the content on his blog? Is he not also culpable for what you term deplorable and dishonest hackery? By the way dishonest hackery is redundant.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          “Dishonest hackery” is not redundant. A hack is simply someone who carries out a literary job perfunctorily, or for otherwise superficial reasons, and usually with underwhelming results. Wikipedia defines a hack as someone who “is paid to write low-quality, quickly put-together articles and books.”

          You don’t have to be dishonest to be a hack, although dishonesty and hackery do seem to have a near-magnetic attraction to each other. That’s probably why the expression “dishonest hackery” seems redundant.

  • Graychin

    Although Nelson Mandela wasn’t released from prison until early 1990, surely he deserves a place in your “80′s” pantheon.