Reason Magazine – Velvet President

Ξ September 13th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Politics and Society |






"Here, in Havel's earliest essay to be translated into English, you can already find the four main themes that have animated his adult nonfiction writing ever since. One is the responsibility to make the world a better place. Another is that the slightest bit of personal dishonesty warps the soul. ("The minute we begin turning a blind eye to what we don't like in each other's writing, the minute we begin to back away from our own inner norms, to accommodate ourselves to each other, cut deals with each other over poetics, we will in fact set ourselves against each other...until one day we will disappear in a general fog of mutual admiration.")

A third theme is that ideology-driven governance is practically doomed to fail. ("It prevents whoever has it in his power to solve the problem of the Prague fa├žades from understanding that he bears responsibility for something and that he can't lie his way out of that responsibility.") Finally, there is his belief in the revolutionary potency of individuals speaking freely and "living in truth.""

 

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