A great man from a small nation has passed, but his words and deeds live on forever.  Vaclav Havel, once President of the Czech Republic, influenced me as yet no other president in my lifetime.  He chose truth where others still choose lies.  He took a definitive stand against a corrupt system.  He inspired my personal choice to choose non-collusion.

I will not put words into a wise man’s mouth, but I will say, between the Communist system he helped  bring down and the Corporatist system we now serve, many parallels can be drawn.  Just for starters:  a crumbling infrastructure, a grossly unfair distribution of wealth and power, a system where spying is deemed “necessary” for “freedom.”

According to Ron Paul, I’m not the only one comparing the two:

“Socialism is a system where the government directly owns and manages businesses. Corporatism is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are in fact controlled by the government. . .. This in many ways can be more insidious and worse than being an outright socialist.”

In arguably one of the greatest political essays ever written, The Power of the Powerless (1978) Havel courageously defines Ideology and staunchly defends Truth.  I will leave his words intact, so that you may discover your own parallels:

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. 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. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe. . . .

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; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. 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. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

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. . . .”

Havel on Morality:

“We have become morally ill because we are used to saying one thing and thinking another.  We have learned not to believe in anything, not to care about each other. . . . Love, friendship, mercy, humility, or forgiveness have lost their depths and dimension. . . . They represent some sort of psychological curiosity, or they appear as long-lost wanderers from faraway times.”

“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

Havel on Modern Consciousness:

“The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning - in other words, of absurdity - the more energetically meaning is sought.”

“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.”

Havel on Hope:

“Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.”

“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.”

Rest in Peace Playwright-Philosopher-President Havel; Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain.

havel

Vaclav Havel (5 October 1936-18 December 2011)

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul665.html
http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/165havel.html
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/v/vaclav_havel.html