Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who has been called the “Margaret Thatcher of Central Europe,” is disappointed with the world. Although better than the decades spent toiling under Communism, Klaus imagined a different life in his democracy. The problem lies in the newest trends in the policies and ideals by which government are run, he said Monday night during his speech in the Army and Navy Club Ballroom in Washington, D.C., which was hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Klaus sees two main threats to liberty: First, the movement toward a weaker nation-state, complemented by a call for global governance; and second, the misguided focus on climate change. He argued persuasively that a democracy that functions globally cannot be a success. Instead, he believes in the nation state, and the power of the free market, and is tired of hearing that private interest is wrong and public interest should be dominant. Klaus then criticized the “new progressives,” the men who dream of changing the world and perfecting man. “We need to stand up for our old conservative beliefs,” he said.
Even worse to Klaus is the irrational notion that the environment can, or needs to, be saved. While he supports “practical, rational debate” in an attempt to halt further degradation of the planet, the president said environmentalism is an ideology that only pretends to be interested in doing good — a symptom of governmental meddling. “Is it beyond natural? Is it man made? Should it bother us more than any other problems we face?” he asked. “And if we want to control the climate, can we — at all?”
No, Klaus said, in response to his own questions. The author of Blue Planet in Green Shackles, which has been translated in 17 languages worldwide, added that there is no scientific consensus to suggest the ongoing debate needs to be continued. The clear thing about the future of climate change, he concluded, is that it will be solved by human ingenuity — not government intervention.