A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My second True American Hero is not an American yet his views and candid speaking would make our forefathers proud. Vaclav Klaus is the president of the Czech Republic and recently became the President of the European Union. Here is what the New York Times wrote about him last November:
“Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic – an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache – continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.”
As a trained economist, free marketer and having been under the control of communism for most of his life, he is critical of any policy that promotes socialism.
“I lived in a system where political, social and all other non-economic arguments and claims dictated the economy, not the other way round. This sequencing is crucial. The horse must always be in front of the carriage, not behind it.”
While President Klaus is a politician, his ability to cut through the bull and speak his mind illustrates the void that we have in American politics. Rather than my words, get to know Vaclav Klaus in his own words:
Speaking in the United States about the economic crisis:
“The crisis originated here, in the U.S. It was a joint product of two factors – of the large-scale, massive granting of mortgages to unpromising, unreliable borrowers, and of the over-expansionary monetary policy. Those who are responsible for it are the federal government and the central bank, the Fed. Everything else is secondary and belongs to the supportive background”
On grandiose attempts to fix the economic crisis:
“Looking for ways out, we should – to use an analogy – strictly differentiate between fighting the fire and drafting fire protection legislation. We have to concentrate on the first task now; the second one can be done gradually, without haste and panic. A big increase in financial regulation, as is being proposed so often these days, will only prolong the recession.”
On the restrictive policies being pushed by the European Union:
“Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition. We learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom.”
On dealing with global warming alarmists (I recommend that you read his entire speech):
“It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress and that the much needed, long overdue exchange of views has not yet started. All we see and hear are uninspiring monologues. It reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era. Whatever you said, any convincing and well-prepared arguments you used, any relevant data you assembled, no reaction. It all fell into emptiness. Nobody listened, especially “they” did not listen. They didn’t even try to argue back. They considered you a naive, uninformed and confused person, an eccentric, a complainer, someone not able to accept their only truth.”
On helping less fortunate countries:
“To summarize, countries in transition need political democratization and creation of institutions of market economy. They need open markets in the rest of the world. They need such social, labor, environmental, safety, hygienic and other standards that they define on their own and that reflect their economic level, not standards imposed upon them from the outside. They need trade, not aid.”
Showing real class in a letter to outgoing President George W. Bush:
“On your last day in office, I would like to express my thanks for all your work which has contributed to strengthening the friendly relations between the United States of America and the Czech Republic. Our countries are friends and allies. We have common values, common interests, common priorities, we are facing common threats and resolutely stand side by side in defense of freedom and democracy.”
Contrast those words with the actions of the folks who booed the President Bush at the inauguration or laughed at Vice-President Cheney as he was confined to a wheel chair for the ceremony.
Can we make President Vaclav Klaus an American citizen?
Update September 27, 2010: A while back I presented the Czech Republic’s President Vaclav Klaus as a True American Hero for his demonstrative free market views that paralleled those of America’s Founding Fathers. If you paid any attention to the United Nations’ events last week you were inundated with coverage of Mamoud Imanutjob (I know it is spelled wrong, but the man doesn’t deserve my time to get it right) and our fretful leaders’ anemic response. The United States needs to quit throwing money away at this group of thugs parading around in thousand dollar suits lamenting the plight of the poor.
You probably did not hear anything about the speach given by Vaclav Klaus. This was probably because President Klaus does not support European socialism so the media either didn’t report his words or buried the story. Burying the story gives them deniability when we blast them for being leftist since they did print it. Unlike the calls from the world’s elitists for greater global governance Klaus, a free market economist, blasted this path:
“On the contrary, this is the time for international organizations, including the United Nations, to reduce their expenditures, make their administrations thinner, and leave the solutions to the governments of member states…[the world is] moving in the wrong direction…The anti-crisis measures that have been proposed and already partly implemented follow from the assumption that the crisis was a failure of markets and that the right way out is more regulation of markets…[this is a] mistaken assumption…[that will] destroy the markets and together with them the chances for economic growth and prosperity in both developed and developing countries.”
If you are like me, these are the words that I long to hear from our President. The problem Klaus and other free market proponents have is that even though the free market system always works (remember the United States has far too much government control to really be considered free) there will always be losers and winners. There will always be a group crying for their piece of pie. I always find it interesting that the smaller European nations that long-suffered under Soviet Communism have become some of the strongest free market societies. Do you think they know something that we forgot?
For all of you socialists or liberals or progressives or whatever label you try to hide behind, would you rather be poor in America or Cuba? You may be surprised to learn that being poor in the United States is much better than being poor in the third world. I have never heard of a news story about a group of Americans making a raft to sail to Cuba to live.
Cheers to President Klaus.